1. Did you grow up in the North East or did you decide to relocate here in later life?
I was born in Hexham and went to school in Newcastle, but moved away from the region to study at Leeds University and the College of Law in York. When I completed my studies, I came back north to join Hay & Kilner and worked my way up through the ranks before becoming managing partner in 2016.
2. What do you think it means to be a businessperson in the North East of England?
There tends to be a higher proportion of owner/managers in the North East than in other areas and they tend to have a more ‘hands on’ approach to their business which makes a direct impact on its fortunes. In turn for us, it means that the legal advice and guidance we’re providing is having a similarly direct impact on their decision making and commercial success.
3. What is your favourite aspect of life in the North East?
The easy accessibility we have to both our major urban centres and a wide range of beautiful places, visitor attractions and all the fresh air you could ever want!
4. Do you have a favourite hotspot for a business meeting?
Motel One on High Bridge in Newcastle was a favourite meeting place when we were based in our previous offices, but having recently moved to our fantastic new headquarters in The Lumen building within the Newcastle Helix development, we’re very much making the most of the top class meeting facilities it provides.
5. Where do you like to eat out in the region?
Blackfriars in Newcastle is a favourite venue for a business lunch, while Omni in Monkseaton village offers south east Asian dishes of the highest quality.
6. Where do you like to unwind within the North East?
I’ve lived at the coast for more than 20 years and being on the beach in the fresh sea air is still a favourite way to spend time – hard to comprehend that you’re less than half an hour from the centre of Newcastle.
7. Are the people really friendlier?
Having lived here most of my life, I’d probably define ‘friendlier’ as ‘normal’ – people visiting the region possibly have a better vantage point on this than me and an awful lot of those that we work with who are based elsewhere would very much agree that they are.
8. What do you think is the best view in the North East?
When you’re heading north on a train and come across the railway bridge, the succession of bridges that are laid out to your right, framed by the Newcastle Quayside and Sage Gateshead, is an awesome sight. Looking across the causeway to St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay is another favourite, while Bamburgh Castle is a world-class location.
9. Do you think living and working in the North East offers the same opportunities as elsewhere in the UK?
The North East offers a huge range of opportunities, especially in a climate where better work/life balance has become more important than ever for many business owners and skilled staff.
We have an extremely strong legal and professional services community which is called upon by top tier clients right across the country, while the Newcastle Helix hybrid city quarter where we are now based is attracting some hugely impressive and exciting names from the UK and international tech sector.
10. Have you had any experience of working elsewhere and how did it compare?
While I’ve not been permanently based anywhere else during my career, I’ve worked with many clients and projects right across the UK, and while a critical mass of businesses and capital may be more apparent elsewhere, the North East is capable of leading in several key sectors. The lifestyle and logistical advantages the region offers are also second to none.