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Entrepreneurs’ Forum unveils new CEO at autumn conference

ByNatalie Witterick

Nov 19, 2021

The new CEO of the North East’s largest entrepreneur membership group has been unveiled at its autumn conference.

Elaine Stroud was confirmed as the new chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum following a period of change for the organisation.

Addressing an audience of 250 North East entrepreneurs, chairman James Robson MBE revealed the leadership change on  Thursday (11th November) during the Forum’s Together We Can Take on the World conference.

On her appointment, Elaine said: “I am thrilled to be appointed at this important time as we emerge from the pandemic and bring back our in-person events, including this conference. The Forum was created almost 20 years ago for entrepreneurs to learn and to be inspired by each other and this ethos remains at our core. Right now, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to lead and inspire those around them to be make positive changes for world we live in and I’m excited to be leading the Forum as we play our part.”

Elaine has been part of the Forum since 2013 when she joined as finance manager. During this time, she ensured the financial sustainability of the organisation while helping to grow its membership and build strong relationships with its partners.

In her role as CEO, she will spearhead the organisation’s mission to inspire, support and showcase North East entrepreneurs, further cementing the Forum’s place within the North East’s business ecosystem.

The appointment follows the departure of previous CEO Jonathan Lamb in the summer due to health reasons.

Jonathan was appointed into the role in July 2019 following a career spanning more than 20 years in marketing and business strategy. During his time at the Forum, he led the organisation’s strategic review and oversaw the development of its new portfolio and digital offering.

James Robson MBE, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “The last two years have been exceptional for us all. Focusing on enhancing our member and partner experience, Jonathan accelerated the Forum’s online presence and introduced new events to our portfolio all while navigating the everchanging circumstances of the pandemic.

“We’d like to say thank you to Jonathan for the contribution he has made to the Forum’s strategy, and we wish him the very best.

“2022 marks the Forum’s 20th anniversary, an exciting period for the organisation. With the appointment of Elaine as CEO, I am confident she will strengthen our existing network and ensure the Forum is stronger than ever before.

“Elaine has served as interim CEO since Jonathan’s exit in the summer where she has proven she is the best person to lead the Forum’s next chapter of growth and success.”

Held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Together We Can Take on the World addressed the themes of wellbeing and sustainability and welcomed speakers from across the UK including: Richard Harpin of HomeServe, Kresse Wesling CBE of Elvis & Kresse, Matt Bishop and Reece Gilkes of The Sidecar Guys and Richard McCann of the iCan Academy.

The event also saw a ‘Business Unmuted Live’ panel discuss the future of green energy in the North East. Chaired by Graham Robb of Recognition PR, its speakers included Matt Boyle of Turntide Technologies, Kevin Brown of Pacifica Group,  Natasha Boulding of Sphera, and Tristan Zipfel of EDF Renewables.

Together We Can Take on the World was supported by Recognition PR, North East Growth Hub, the City of Sunderland, CityFibre, Vertu Motors plc, British Business Bank, Durham City Incubator and Recovery4Life.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum was founded in 2002 by Sir Peter Vardy and Lorna Moran OBE and has grown from 40 founding members to hundreds of North East entrepreneurs.