Please get in touch if you have any questions about our advisors.
For Prosper North, Creative United has gathered a unique network of exceptionally qualified business advisors whose expertise span the full breadth and depth of the arts and creative industries.
You can find out more about their individual areas of specialism by clicking on their photos below.
Sabina Strachan is a consultant and trainer with 20 years' experience working in management consulting, research development and heritage management across multiple sectors in culture and the creative industries and in higher education.
Sabina founded how2glu in 2018 (www.how2glu.com) which develops and supports collaboration between individuals and organisations through consulting, training, facilitation, organisational development and bespoke resources. Sabina is skilled at helping people get to the root of issues and working in partnership to find innovative solutions. She uses how2glu tools and step-by-step processes developed through design thinking and graphic facilitation to help people navigate complexity.
Recent clients include Glasgow Life, the city’s culture and sport trust, Sheffield Culture Collective, Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, and Newcastle University. Projects include developing cultural strategies for Glasgow and Sheffield, a partnership business model review and investment strategy, a coaching programme for Creative Economy postdoctoral fellows and how2collaborate programme for researchers throughout the UK. Sabina has begun her own entrepreneurial journey as she develops how2glu digital products and services.
Previously Sabina headed up BOP Consulting’s Scotland office, an international creative economy research and management consultancy. There, her projects included the £13.2 million Glasgow Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme evaluation, Edinburgh’s Festivals 10-year strategy and Stage 1 business plan for the £66 million Burrell Collection redevelopment. She has also worked as a partnership developer for the University of Glasgow and in various heritage management roles at Scottish Canals/British Waterways and Historic Environment Scotland.
Sabina is a trustee of a student engagement charity, a volunteer employer mentor, and an associate at Research Consulting Ltd.
Following a degree in Performing Arts in Leicester, Pamela worked for ten years in a variety of marketing and fundraising roles in the arts and cultural sector and for Arts Council England in Yorkshire.
A move into academia followed as Course Director/Senior Lecturer in Cambridge running a Masters programme in Arts Management. She was also an Associate Lecturer for City University’s Cultural Policy Management MA in London, lecturing in Business and Marketing and devising their first Fundraising module.
As a consultant she has facilitated the growth of SMEs, charities and community interest companies, delivering research, creating business, audience and fundraising plans, securing core, project and capital funding, devising and implementing audience engagement strategies and delivering training in a range of topics from governance and strategy to communications/GDPR.
Pamela is committed to sharing knowledge, inspiring engagement and facilitating learning and has regularly volunteered throughout her career as a trustee and mentor. She has acted as a Regional Rep and Mentor for The Arts Marketing Association, been a trustee for Bury St Edmunds Gallery/Smiths Row, Babylon Arts (lead organisation for Market Place, a large scale Creative People and Places project) and Chair of Start (a network of community arts managers in Cambridgeshire), in addition to being on the Leadership Committee for the Institute of Fundraising's East Anglia Regional Group.
She is currently a board member of High Peak Trust which governs Buxton Opera House & Pavilion Arts Centre, led by Chief Executive Paul Kerryson MBE.
Matthew is a qualified accountant and an experienced CEO and Finance Director. He has worked with a wide range of charities, social enterprises, creative and digital industries, healthcare and education sectors, but has particular affinity for working with cultural organisations.
In 2014 Matthew founded Adding Value Consultancy Ltd to support values-led organisations maximise their impact. It does this by providing management consultancy services, interim and part time finance director services, capital project support, and an outsource finance and accountancy shared service centre. Recently Matthew was interim CEO at FACT for a nine-month period.
Matthew is also non-executive director at Magenta Living, a large housing association, and a mentor to business start-ups. He recently completed an MBA with distinction at the University of Liverpool. His dissertation was on measuring social value in the arts.
I am a business development consultant specialising in advice, support and future planning with organisations working in the heritage, arts, culture, festivals & events and community housing sectors.
I work with enterprises and organisations of all shapes and sizes and have had real success in supporting small community organisations achieve sustainable growth through a process of 'asset based development', supported private businesses and not-for-profit enterprises access significant investment finance as well as working with public bodies manage their future culture and heritage investment plans.
I take a client centred approach to my work but always bring a hard reality check to the process.
John Anderson is an experienced and successful senior manager whose strong leadership and management qualities have been acquired working within the public, private and voluntary sector.
During this time, he has gained significant project and general management experience, an ability to lead teams with a varying range of skills and experience, and the commercial acumen and organisational abilities to manage regional charities, public sector departments and major regeneration programmes.
Since becoming a freelance consultant in 2013, John has supported a variety of charitable, private & public sector organizations with business planning, implementing effective governance & team structures and fundraising activities as well as delivering several individual projects.
Throughout his career, he has worked with a variety of organizations and initiatives that have their roots in the arts, heritage and creative sector. He has coordinated a major business and enterprise support programme for creative organizations on Merseyside and worked a range of arts organizations across the region on neighbourhood regeneration programmes. Over the last 5 years he has:
• Delivered a governance review for the Community Radio Station, Wirral Radio.
• Worked with Daniel Adamson Preservation Society after the charity received £3.8 m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore a historic Steam Ship on implementing their business plan and supporting the organization make the transition from a group of enthusiasts to a commercially minded social business.
• Helped facilitate a merger between the Scarborough Museums Trust Creative Business Centre, Woodend.
• Undertaken a short review of the arts centre, the Blackwood Miners Institute and its role in this South Wales town evening and night time economy.
John is also Chair of Northwich Town Centre Heritage Lottery Initiative and a member of the Institute of Economic Development
I have over 20 years’ experience of working in the voluntary and community sector, social enterprise and social finance sector, cultural, creative, arts, museums, heritage, and business sector.
I have been a freelance Enterprise Consultant for over 10 years and prior to that spent seven years working with miners, ex-miners, and community groups in coalfield areas assisting with capacity building, business development and income diversification, partnership and meeting facilitation. I then spent 18 months with MLA Yorkshire to develop strategic and local partnerships, and networks across cultural, business, and third sector.
Finally, I was the Investment Readiness Programme Manager for Charity Bank working with third sector organisations. I developed, ran, and managed a comprehensive programme of workshops, seminars, and one to one development support with nearly 500 organisations across the Yorkshire Region. ~
During my time as a freelance consultant I have supported a diverse range of organisations across public, private, and third sector throughout the UK focusing on a range of priority start-up, development, and growth areas including:
• Income diversification – including traditional funding and fundraising, social investment, and private sector investment
• Change management and organisational development
• Partnership working and collaboration
• Training and development on volunteering, funding and financial diversity, governance, team / board away days, marketing and communications, digital and social media, networking etc….
• Event planning and management
• Feasibility and research studies
• Governance change development
• Business engagement, sponsorship & CSR
My previous work in all of my employment and as a freelance consultant has provided me with a wealth of knowledge, skills, experience and expertise on a wide range of key areas essential for future resilience of any organisation. My work as a freelance consultant means that I need to manage my time effectively, and ensure that I am able to develop and deliver reports, resources, studies, tools, training and information within deadlines provided.
As I work across numerous sectors and disciplines the resource library I have developed over the past 20 years is quite substantial, and enables me to provide my clients with a range of added value support through top tips, templates, case studies and examples of best practice.
Jane has an abiding belief in the power of the arts and culture to transform lives.
She has committed her working life to creating and sustaining environments in which people can experience and benefit from the profound and positive impact of creativity.
Before becoming a consultant in 2015 she was the Joint Chief Executive of The National Centre for Circus Arts.
During her tenure she led on a significant capital redevelopment; managed complex multi -stakeholder relationships; secured national status; rebranded, relaunched and repositioned the organisation while ensuring resilience in an increasingly hostile economic climate.
Now she provides bespoke support, advice and coaching to a range of clients across the arts and heritage sectors. She specialises in visioning, business planning, fundraising and development. She is passionate about good governance and is proud to be a trustee of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.
Fiona Mitchell-Innes is a culture focussed consultant, specialising in creative, successful and realistic business development and planning, organisational development and change management, all with arts and heritage organisations. This has included having management positions in large organisations like Arts Council England and the Natural History Museum, to consulting and supporting many small and medium sized cultural organisations in developing their businesses to be more sustainable, resilient and effective.
In the last 8 years she has worked as a freelance consultant supporting arts and heritage organisations, and museums, helping them meet their full potential as businesses. She covers many areas of business development and values working with as wide a team as possible – from the Chair and CEO, to the volunteer, as experience has shown that every team member has a vital contribution to play to ensure that organisation thrives.
Particular skill sets include:
• Helping organisations identify weaknesses and where change in process or structure can bring new opportunities
• Devising and delivering change management to aid resilience
• Creating a meaningful mission that can connect to audiences, staff and partners
• Creating strategic business plans with clients that are realistic and agreed by all parties – so the organisation has a clear path to success
• Effective Board recruitment and development
• Skills audits to assess where strength lie and where organisations can improve their knowledge
• Creating and developing creative and effective team development programmes
• Strategic communications: Marketing and PR – placing your organisation where you want it to be seen
• Crisis management
• Partnership development
• Mentoring and coaching staff at all levels
• Creating successful fundraising strategies
• Writing successful funding bids
She works in a way that is inclusive and free from jargon. She is vastly experienced in all areas of facilitation, Action learning and development for all staff and uses a variety of techniques that ensure there are some quick wins for development, as well as longer term realistic goals that are timed and achievable – as well as be stretching, business focussed and creative.
Emma is a business growth coach, working with businesses to help them grow using their current assets, identifying new products and services or identifying funding.
After over 20 years working in the Tourism, Cultural and Heritage industry for SMEs and public sector bodies, Emma set up her own business to provide support and guidance back into the sector she had developed her career through. Her business provides consultation, mentoring and guidance specialising in cultural, heritage and events/festival markets, recently completing a project to create commercial bookable experiences in places of faith across England.
Emma is based in the midlands but travels the length and breadth of the country and has even travelled to the US to support projects.
Over the past 6 years Emma has been part of the business support programme in Staffordshire working on a 1-2-1 basis with around 100 businesses to work with them on marketing, communications, staff development, funding, business planning and vision setting, each business was very different but we spent time together it identify their goals and the path needed to get there. Within this project and with private clients Emma has worked with a number of funding bodies to bid for and successfully receive funding for capital and revenue projects, from rural funding to heritage lottery funding to Arts Council Funding.
Andrew is an experienced leader of organisational change with particular experience of strategy, business development and fundraising across the charity, voluntary and social enterprise sector. As well as skills in coaching, mentoring and business advice he brings huge energy and enthusiasm for building, scaling and growing organisations to enable organisations and individuals to be more resilient and to fulfill their vision.
His key skills and experience include:
- Business Development
- Funding, Finance and Risk
- Governance and Policy
- Marketing and Communication
- Experience in dealing with HNWIs and senior people across all sectors in the UK and internationally
Alison has acquired a high-level calibre of leadership and consultancy experience in the cultural sector, having developed the organisational capacity, investment and market base for some of the country’s most successful cultural organisations in the West Midlands, North West and Yorkshire.
She has gained considerable experience in organisational leadership, fundraising and business development, stakeholder and partnership development and impact measurement in the not-for-profit sector working as a CIC Director, charity CEO, Senior Manager and more recently, independent freelance consultant.
Alison has supported a diverse range of cultural and creative industry clients nationally to become market-focused, better able to develop project partnerships and prepared to secure funding and business investment.
She has worked nationally on large-scale initiatives and projects including British Science Association, the Council for British Archaeology and Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
She has created new visitor engagement and impact measurement strategies with festivals, galleries and performing arts organisations including mima, National Portrait Gallery, Site, The Hepworth Wakefield, York Theatre Royal. She has enabled the growth and development of partnerships with museums, libraries and archives and National Park Authorities including Bradford Museums and Galleries, Museums of Cheshire, South Downs National Park Authority and Leeds University Library Galleries and has helped measure the social and economic impact of large-scale partnership projects to leverage funding, including Amy Johnson Festival, Yorkshire Festival and Arts Council England and VisitEngland Funded Strategic Programmes - Cultural Destinations Programmes in Calderdale and Sheffield and Right Up Our Street, Creative People and Places programme in Doncaster.
As a mentor and trainer, Alison adapts learning styles to suit individuals and successfully enables people to learn through experience and at their own pace. She has created and delivered training courses for voluntary-run organisations and local community groups through to running business planning awaydays with senior teams.
Alison has acted as mentor and trainer and improved professional standards by applying market and business intelligence to training programmes including for UK-wide voluntary network Making Music; she has established work-place training for recent graduates; conceived and implemented a programme of professional development for Cultural Leaders.
Most recently, Alison has been supporting cultural consortia in developing and delivering partnership-led cultural strategies designed to cohere a strategic approach to cultural programming and delivery working in partnership with arts, health, education and business sectors.
Alison is an accredited Action Learning Facilitator, a Fellow of the RSA and a member of the Market Research Society.
Gill is an executive and business coach, based in Pennine Yorkshire and working across the UK and internationally. Since 2003 she has worked with over 230 creative and digital organisations, across all art forms and creative disciplines.
She also has undertaken over 100 pieces of strategic and governance focused work with arts organisations of all creative persuasions across Yorkshire,North West, London and Midlands. Prior to this Gill had a 20-year career in banking - 15 of which were in the City of London. She spent 10 years as a commercial banker, then gained an MBA from Warwick Business School, and spent 10 years as strategist, marketeer, corporate communicator and change manager. Her final role was at a senior level with Halifax plc. She graduated with a 1st in Fashion Design in 2003 and operates her own bespoke clothing company, Your Ultimate Working Wardrobe, alongside her coaching business. She specialises in working with creatively and mission led businesses in Strategic and structured thinking to bring clarity to existing business models; business model innovation; business, operational and financial planning; taking the fear and confusion out of financial complex management; building effective boards and governance structures; building effective leadership teams; coaching through change, periods of upheaval and crisis.
Vanessa is a Director of Cultivate, the cultural organisational development agency and a freelance consultant. She was the first General Manager at Perth Theatre and went on to hold senior marketing and audience development and management roles at major UK companies including Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse and Leicester Haymarket.
She worked with Arts Council England for 13 years specialising in marketing and audience development and business planning for major capital projects. During this period she continued to deliver business and organisational consultancy to an extensive range of cultural and heritage organisations throughout the UK and abroad as well as for Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales.
Vanessa specialises in governance, business planning and implementation, advocacy and developing skills and strategies for marketing, audience development fundraising, philanthropy and income diversification. She has developed a range of toolkits, templates and training workshops on governance, business and strategic planning, marketing and audience development. Her publications include "Subscription What Now" following research in the USA and UK.
She has facilitated and created events and conferences on audience development, capital development and philanthropy and managed a range of training programmes for Cultivate, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, was Chair of Origin Dance Company from 2012 to 2017and has served on a range of arts boards including Riverside Studios, Dance 4 ,Audiences UK and the American theatre company, Fusion in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Vanessa recently led the UK partnership with Arts Manager International with Michael K Kaiser on the ACE Building Resilience Fundraising and Diversification of Income programme.
Graham currently spends most of his business life carrying out the following tasks.:
1. Finding funding for businesses - from banks to business angels and everything in between - From £10k -£2m.
2. Writing business plans and preparing Profit and Loss forecasts / Cash Flow Forecasts/ Balance Sheet Forecasts.
3. Training people how to pitch in front of business angels.
4. Going into businesses and helping improve their profitability by assessing what they are doing and where they can improve their performance.
5. Helping sell established businesses
Bryn has over 30 years’ management and consultancy experience in the museums, heritage, arts, tourism and wider leisure sector. A former Head of Visitor Services and Trading for the Science Museum, when it was a charging attraction, and a former Commercial Director at the Lowry Centre and the Alnwick Garden. In 2006, he set up his own consultancy, Bryn Jones Associates Ltd, which has established itself as the leading commercial operational and customer experience consultancy in the sector. He and his company has significant experience in helping to turn existing operations around, business planning, operational and commercial reviews, interim management, planning and setting up new developments and operations so they can be resilient, sustainable and deliver a great customer experience.
Ellen O’Hara is an independent coach and consultant in creative and cultural enterprise with 18 years experience spanning the private, public and third sectors. She has designed and delivered enterprise and business development programmes for Nesta and Arts Council England (Digital Arts & Culture Accelerator), Innovate UK (Enterprise Skills for grantees), British Council, Creative United, and the Clore Leadership Programme. Ellen delivers coaching, consultancy and facilitation in strategy and planning, business model innovation, income diversification, enterprise capabiity, and access to alternative finance.
Recent clients include National Theatre Wales, Warwick Ventures, Turner Contemporary, Coney, Metal, Theatre Centre, Stopgap Dance Company, Clore Leadership, New Art Exchange, Big Issue Invest, Creativity Works, Crafts Council, Nesta and British Council.
Ellen previously held roles at award-winning craft incubator Cockpit Arts, the Prince's Trust and Arts Council England. She began her career in management consultancy at Arthur Andersen. She is a published researcher, Clore Leadership Fellow 2014/15, SFEDI accredited coach, Fellow of the RSA, holds a degree in Economics & Econometrics from the University of Birmingham and a postgraduate diploma in Administrative Management.
She sits on the board of regional theatre company Little Earthquake and is also co-founder and editor at City Writers Room, a place for writing about people, places and ideas on the theme of city. She works internationally and is based in the Derbyshire Dales, UK.
Andy has worked for over 30 years in the creative industries. He has experience of working with various business models from commercial to not-for-profit and has sat on various boards and committees. He is currently a Board Member for Freedom Festival Arts Trust in Hull that runs an annual 3 day festival attracting 115,000 people. He splits his time between Northumberland, where he lives and runs a commercial art gallery, and Hull where he runs a live music venue, a multi-disciplinary venue, live music pub and ticket agency. Andy is passionate about working with creative people and businesses, ensuring their viability as small businesses whilst maintaining their creative focus.