Advisory network poised for growth in region

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THE York and North Yorkshire arm of business advisory network The Alternative Board could more than double in size over the next year after recruiting a new team.

The franchise, which offers monthly peer-to-peer board membership and individual coaching, currently has four boards involving 30 businesses under the chairmanship of Ed Reid.

But after taking on two new coaches, Jackie Mathers and Julia Sutton-McGough, who will develop their own TAB boards and provide strategic consultancy and coaching to firms, the network is set to grow.

Ms Mathers said she would like to have three or four boards running in a year’s time.

Since TAB York and North Yorkshire was set up four years ago, it has gone from strength to strength.

Mr Reid said: “More than 75 per cent of [the existing 30 businesses] have grown their profits over the past two years. The expansion of my team opens up huge opportunities for other ambitious businesses to benefit from TAB’s distinctive offer.”

Through its network, TAB provides businesses with, in effect, its own board of directors made up of experienced individuals who are able to give objective advice and on-going support.

Mr Reid said this helps business owners to make better day-to-day and long-term decisions that will continually move their companies forward.

“The groups are made up of about eight different businesses who do not compete with each other,” said Mr Reid.

“They meet every month and I chair these meetings. Everyone gets a time slot. Then other people offer advice regarding what they would do in the business owner’s situation.

“The businesses get a completely different perspective on how they are running their business. Everyone reports back the next time. And TAB members get one-on-one meetings with me.”

Mr Reid has worked in both large corporates and small businesses at executive level for 15 years.

His experience straddles a number of sectors and companies, including British Steel, Diageo and Nestle.

In 2011 he qualified as a Level Five coach and mentor through the Institute of Leadership & Management.

He also sits on the North Yorkshire committee for the Institute of Directors.

But TAB’s influence extends far beyond Yorkshire. It was started in 1990 in the US. Today it provides assistance to business owners, managing directors and chief executives across the globe.

Now Ms Mathers and Ms Sutton-McGough will be working with businesses in York and North Yorkshire.

Ms Sutton-McGough has an established record of leading and delivering strategic projects in the pharmaceutical industry, charity sector and NHS.

She spent eight years at SmithKline Beecham, AstraZeneca and Schering Health Care Ltd. Her roles included study management, clinical quality assurance and product management. Later she was promoted to the chief executive’s office at Schering to lead on strategy and performance.

Ms Sutton-McGough was also an executive board member at Sue Ryder at a time of significant change for the organisation. Since 2010 she has run her own consultancy business.

Meanwhile, Ms Mathers has spent a good portion of her career in the commercial finance sector and delivering business studies in a further and higher education college before joining York St John University in 2001 as a specialist in strategy and finance.

As dean of the Business School at York St John, Ms Mathers held responsibility for the strategic management of the school, building partnerships regionally, nationally and internationally.

She said: “All three of us are passionate about growing business in the York area. I have worked with Ed [Reid] before and I loved the idea of what he was doing and I knew many of his members.

“They are all ambitious businesses... and they have all got different things to bring to the table. The premise [of TAB] is that there is a lot of experience around the table, it’s a powerful environment to be in.”

She added: “I’d like to think that I’ll have at least three boards running in a year’s time, maybe four. There is certainly the demand for it.

“There are brilliant businesses coming forward. It may be that people are seeing the light post-recession.”