The most powerful question in business is "what's next?".

The answer sets out a world of opportunities, of innovation, of business-changing possibilities.Disruptors 2022 brought business leaders and innovators together from across the North to do just that and:- inspired attendees to embrace disruption
- set out how businesses can benefit from being more innovative
- enabled attendees to learn from businesses that have thrived
- mapped out the international journeys that technology can help drive forward
- showcased some of the most exciting companies in the North
Disruptors helped inspire and better inform attendees to re-write their own answer to "what's next?" for your business.




Registration & Networking9:00 - 9:30

Check-in and network with other conference attendees.

Welcome & Keynote9:30 - 10:00

A short welcome by Futurologist as opening (broad and inspirational; what are the drivers of change? what does a disrupted future look like?Speaker
- Denise Dourado, Director of Digital and Application Innovation, Microsoft

The building blocks of success10:00 - 10:45📍 Lecture Theatre

"Success has many fathers" - this cliche is especially true to use technology to grow your business.In this session, we will look at where your business fits into the eco-system, plugging it into the clusters, skills, funding and infrastructure that will be key to flourishing.Speakers
- Eve Roodhouse, Chief Economy Officer, Leeds City Council
- Matt Robinson, Head of Nations & Regions, techUK
- Victoria Critchley, Development Director for Innovation, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Building resilience and efficiencies10:00 - 10:45📍 Conference Theatre

Technology has changed how we do business, but can risk leaving weaknesses in your processes.Learn how to incorporate innovations into your operations that build resilience and transparency, and utilise the power of automation to speed up delivery.

- Tony Mannix, CEO, Clipper
- Andrew Sands, Co-Founder, Pixelmax
- Eddie Aspden, Chief Architect, Pixelmax
- Nick Washbourne, Commercial Director, Force 24
- Sam Young, Operations Director, NG Bailey IT Services

Coffee Break/Networking10:45 - 11:15

The tech skills arms race11:15 - 12:00📍 Lecture Theatre

People with the right skills have been in huge demand, accelerated by the pandemic creating a global competition for talent. But for businesses the challenge is more than just the cost of recruiting talent.The pace of change means companies need to keep upskilling teams across the business and really engaging with what skills their workforce will need to stay competitive.

- Amul Batra, COO, Northcoders
- Paul Corcoran, Founder, Agent & deputy chair, Liverpool LEP
- Lorna Madden, Head of Talent Engagement, Opencast Software
- Ian McAleese, Sr. Director of Human Resources International, Snowflake

How to take your tech global11:15 - 12:00📍 Conference Theatre

The UK Government has a vision to be a global leader in digital trade, opening up opportunities that will drive productivity, jobs, and growth. Businesses in the North are well-placed to use technology to reach markets around the world.Learn how to overcome barriers and hear from business leaders who have successfully grown their international revenues.

- Tim Kay, Director – Science and Technology Directorate, Department for International Trade
- Ben Ward, Business Development Manager, MIDAS
- Charlotte Bailey, COO, Panintelligence
- Henry Coates, Associate Director - Intellectual Property Solutions, Aon
- Bobby Thandi, Founder & CEO, XR Games

Lunch12:00 - 12:45

Shaping business for investment12:45 - 13:45📍 Lecture Theatre

Whether developing tech or using tech, fast-growing businesses typically have significant funding requirements.This session will delve into what funders are looking for, the importance of IP protection, and how an ESG strategy is now a must-have.

- Esther Kirwan, Head of Intellectual Property, Clarion
- Andy Haigh, Corporate Finance Partner, BHP Corporate Finance
- Mike Clarke, Partner, New Investments Yorkshire & NE, YFM
- Alex Willcocks, Director, Engage Interactive
- Pinaki Das, Head of Thematic Research, Quintet Group

How tech can improve health outcomes and inequalities12:45 - 13:30📍 Conference Theatre

Technology is being used to address many challenges faced by communities and societies. The North is a leader in healthtech, driving real progress and delivering improved outcomes.We will look at how technology is addressing health inequalities and what we can expect in the years ahead.

- Tazmin Chiles, Data & Innovation Consultant, Open Innovation
- Nathan Berry, Head of Collaboration and HealthTech lead, Nexus
- Professor Mark Mon Williams, Chair in Cognitive Psychology, University of Leeds
- Lalit Suryawanshi, CTO & Co-Founder, Itecho Health
- Paul Baverstock, Founder & Chief Executive, Caterpillar Health

Using technology to create a better future13:45 - 14:15📍 Lecture Theatre

Inclusive innovation is a great opportunity for the North to bring everyone along, so that the opportunities that will be created by 5G, Web3 and the next wave of the Internet of Things are available to all - to create stronger businesses, entrepreneurial endeavours, and connected communities.Overcoming barriers and executing an ambitious vision can transform the North and its prospects over the next decade.

- Adam Roney, Founder & CEO, Calls9
- Anna Sutton, Co-Founder & CEO, Data Shed


Paul Corcoran, CEO, Agent

Paul Corcoran is CEO and founder of Agent; a full-service brand and communications agency based in Liverpool and Manchester.Paul is deputy chair of LCR Local Enterprise Partnership, co-chair of the LEP’s creative and digital board, board member of the NW Business Leadership Team and Net Zero NW and industry champion for the Policy and Evidence Centre for the Creative Industries.

Cate Kalson, Chief People Officer, Opencast

Cate is Chief People Officer at Opencast, an independent technology consultancy headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne with offices across the UK.Cate has had a squiggly career, starting out as a biomedical research scientist before getting into the tech industry working as a data analyst, a product manager and now as a people team leader.Cate is currently leading the scale up of Opencast with a focus on inclusive growth and bringing people into the technology industry from diverse backgrounds, building on the great culture that has been established over the past 10 years.Cate has a strong interest in how organisations put development of people at the heart of their strategy & business model, using this to ensure they have a competitive edge as well as delivering positive social impact.Cate has two young sons that keep her busy outside of work, and at the weekend can typically can be found with them in the woods either on mountain bikes or exploring streams and puddles with sticks.

Esther Kirwan, Head of Intellectual Property, Clarion

Esther works with a large portfolio of IP rich clients and household names both in the UK and internationally. Her practice covers all contentious and non-contentious IP issues, including patents, designs, confidential information, copyright, trade marks and passing off.Esther works very closely with clients to maximise the value of their IP, to ensure that their rights are not misappropriated and to manage their IP portfolios over many years.

Matt Robinson, Head of Nations and Regions, techUK

Matt leads techUK’s work with their members and stakeholders across the UK including devolved Government, Mayors, Combined Authorities and other relevant parties, particularly looking at how strong local tech ecosystems can be encouraged and thrive. Matt works with many of techUK’s members based, or with a significant footprint in, the nations and regions. Matt’s brief also covers Levelling Up and he leads on techUK’s Local Digital Capital Index that shows the strength of the digital technology in different parts of the UK.Prior to techUK, Matt worked for several national education bodies and organisations developing their regional partnerships with schools, academy trusts, local authorities, and other stakeholders to help improve life chances of children for disadvantaged backgrounds. He’s also worked with local authority leaders and other stakeholders to engage communities, work with elected members and improve public services.He has a BA in Politics and an MA in International Relations, and lives in Leeds. And away from work he’s a keen football fan, golfer, German Shepherd Dog owner and a dad of one.

Pinaki Das, Head of Thematic Research, Quintet Group

Pinaki Das is the Head of Thematic Research at Quintet Group. Quintet is privately held and operates out of
over 50 cities across Europe.
Pinaki has more than a decade of top-tier sell-side experience at Bank of America and its predecessor, Merrill Lynch, most recently as a Global Thematic Investing Strategist and previously as a Cleantech Analyst.Thematic investing – a cornerstone of Quintet’s investment philosophy and a key component of developing
scalable and personalized investment services – enables our clients to invest in the technologies and services of the future.
Pinaki graduated from the University of Delhi with a B.Com (honors) degree and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant in India. He also completed CFA & CPA from USA.

Adam Roney, CEO, Calls9

Adam Roney is an entrepreneur, Web3 evangelist and the Founder and CEO of Calls9, a Digital Innovation and Transformation Agency. Adam and his team design and develop world-class Web3 products, helping businesses identify where blockchain, NFTs, smart contracts and the metaverse can add the most value.

Andy Haigh, Corporate Finance Partner, BHP Corporate Finance

Andy is a corporate finance partner at BHP and has been providing advice to privately owned businesses for over 15 years, both within a national firms M&A and Private Equity team and now at BHP Corporate Finance.Andy’s recent deal experiences include a number of tech deals both on the fundraise and sell side.

Mike Clarke, Partner, New Investments Yorkshire & NE, YFM

Mike is responsible for sourcing and transacting new investment opportunities across the Yorkshire and North East markets.Mike joined YFM as an Investment Director in 2019 before being promoted to Partner in 2020. Before YFM he spent two years on the investment team at BGF. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with BDO in Leeds and went on to spend eight years there as a corporate finance advisor. Mike has a degree in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of Sheffield.Mike is a keen endurance runner. He has completed Iron Man triathlons in Nice and Frankfurt as well as the London Marathon in 2019.

Ian McAleese, Sr. Director of Human Resources International, Snowflake

Ian is a seasoned international HR leader who is well versed working with hyper growth businesses. Having worked across several industry sectors he specializes in international high growth markets. Ian previously served as HR Director at Pace PLC where the business grew from circa £200m to £2.5bn in 4 years. He also worked at US-based start-up companies
including Splunk and Cylance.
Currently, Ian is the international HR leader for Snowflake, the Data Cloud, working to develop international markets across Europe, Asia, Japan, and India. Snowflake became a public company raising $3.4 billion, one of the largest software IPOs on its first day of trading. With a headcount of circa 5,000 worldwide, Snowflake has become a global force to help mobilize the world’s data in less than a decade, and is now one of the largest cloud computing, data and technology companies in the world.

Amul Batra, Chief Operating Officer, Northcoders

Before Northcoders, Amul spent 20 years in the music industry, running a record label and managing a number of successful bands. He left music to set up a tech startup and a chance meeting with Northcoders CEO ended up with him learning to code himself on Northcoders' first ever cohort. There, he saw first-hand how valuable a skill coding was becoming whilst at the same time fell in love with the values and ambition of Northcoders: diversity, community, excellence and helping to change lives through securing rewarding, fulfilling careers in tech.He became an early investor in Northcoders and a key member of the leadership team. Northcoders has now graduated over 1000 new software developers in the last 6 years and has helped guide 95% of them into their first roles at over 315 businesses across the country. Northcoders has gone on to win many awards including Business Of The Year at the Chamber Business Awards in 2018, Digital & Tech Company Of The Year 2019 at the City Of Manchester Downtown In Business Awards and Rapid Growth Award at the Prolific North Tech Awards 2021.He has also sits on a number of Advisory Boards including Innovate Her, WiLD, GMCA Cyber and Manchester Tech Week.He also regularly speaks at events on the subjects of diversity, inclusion, tech skills and the tech talent pipeline.

Charlotte Bailey, COO, Panintelligence

Results-driven, customer-focused and technologically savvy, Charlotte Bailey is an energetic COO for business intelligence platform Panintelligence. Charlotte is a senior change-maker with a keen understanding of analytics and big data, and more than a decade of Customer Success, Development and Product Management experience. By analysing situations, examining problems in granular detail she provides fresh perspectives on issues whilst harnessing new technology. Her purpose is to provide clear strategic leadership and collaboration with customers, to develop, transform and simplify Operations and Technology to deliver measurable benefits.

Tony Mannix, Chief Executive Officer, Clipper

Tony joined Clipper in 2006 and can boast a career in retail logistics spanning some 30 years. Throughout this time, he has developed a wealth of experience in addressing complex logistics challenges.As a member of the executive, Tony has been actively involved in establishing Clipper as one of the UK’s market leaders in retail logistics, and a career highlight was Clipper’s successful floatation in 2014.

Tim Kay, Director – Science and Technology Directorate, Department for International Trade

Tim is the Interim Director for the Science and Technology Directorate at the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT).Prior to his role at DIT, Tim was a Director at KPMG, supporting mid-market organisations with their growth and expansion strategies. Tim was also part of the national Emerging Giants team that works with the most ambitious, fastest growing technology companies.

Denise Dourado, Director of Digital and Application Innovation, Microsoft

Denise is a technology leader with over 25 years' experience driving major transformational change and running operational IT teams. She was most recently responsible for leading the core Engineering teams (Data, Integration & Cloud) at HMRC, supporting one of the largest IT estates in Europe.Denise joined Microsoft in September 2021 and heads up the Digital & Application Innovation team of Cloud Solution Architects (CSAs) within the Customer Success Unit. Her team of architects work closely with customers, primarily from developer communities (Citizen through to Professional), to deliver a range of innovative solutions.

Henry Coates, Associate Director - Intellectual Property Solutions, Aon

Henry Coates is an Associate Director within Aon's IP Solutions EMEA Risk & Insurance team with 8 years of experience in the insurance sector. Henry works to expand Aon's IP risk & insurance offering across EMEA. Focused on leading client conversations and developing the European insurance market for a wide range of industries.

Anna Sutton, Co-Founder & CEO, The Data Shed

Anna’s career started with 15 years’ Marketing experience in agencies and businesses across a variety of sectors where she came up against a variety of data and insight challenges. For Anna, data & analysis is the beginning and end of every business decision, stating that “Gut Feel” has no real place in organisations, but getting the information needed to get by without it, is often difficult.The Data Shed was set up by Anna and her business partner to help other organisations optimise the data they hold. Integrating, cleaning and enhancing for trust and insight; then pushing out to appropriate analysis tools and supporting business change programs to give the decision makers access to data in a meaningful way.Over the last 10 years, The Data Shed have worked with clients of all sizes and shapes to tackle all sorts of data problems and in the last 12 months they have pushed their own SaaS product live and onboarded their first customers. Data Democratisation is at the heart of everything The Data Shed do!

Nathan Berry, Head of Collaboration and Health Tech Lead, Nexus

Nathan is responsible for leading high level collaborations between Nexus member businesses, senior academics at the University of Leeds and key stakeholders in the region’s thriving health tech ecosystem. He also advises on regional, national and international opportunities for our community.Having previously worked in industry, Nathan has extensive experience in health-related businesses and across the University of Leeds, including within the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Research and Innovation service.

Professor Mark Mon Williams, Chair in Cognitive Psychology, University of Leeds

Mark holds a Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Leeds, is Professor of Psychology at the Bradford Institute of Health Research, Professor of Vision Science at The Norwegian Centre for Vision, and a Turing Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute (the UK’s National data analytics and AI Centre).

Bobby Thandi, Founder & CEO, XR Games

Bobby Thandi is the Founder and CEO of XR Games - an award-winning VR game development studio. Bobby secures contracts and develops key relationships with global partners such as Sony Pictures and Meta, as XR Games rapidly scales off the back of the hit VR game 'Zombieland: Headshot Fever'.

Sam Young, Operations Director, NG Bailey IT Services

Sam Young is operations director of NG Bailey IT Services and part of the business’s Senior Leadership Team. With a focus on transforming connectivity to build better businesses and empower people, NG Bailey IT Services is trusted by international companies including Coca Cola, Fujitsu, Tesco and HSBC as well as organisations including the NHS and armed forces, because of its unrivalled technical expertise and unmatched end-to-end capabilities.With over a decade’s experience within the IT services sector Sam has witnessed the growth of digitalisation and directly helped businesses to build resilience, transparency and efficiencies by embracing the latest innovations.

Ben Ward, Business Development Manager, MIDAS

Ben Ward is a Business Development Manager and has been part of the team at MIDAS since 2018, specialising in supporting businesses grow within the creative, digital and tech industries in Greater Manchester.Ben has eight years' experience in the tech sector and is well embedded into the ecosystem. Through is previous roles in recruitment and now in business development he has built a deep understanding of the local talent market, cross-industry innovation and is well versed in creating connections for business leaders to collaborate.


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