People: Chalkboard; Leep Utilities; Chartered Wealth Management; Redrow Lancashire

Madelin Snyder

Manchester-based tech firm, Chalkboard, has hired Madelin Snyder as product manager.

Madelin will lead on an ambitious roadmap for the Chalkboard platform, which gives local businesses the tools they need to build stronger relationships with customers, improve client retention and drive sales.

The company plans to make additional hires in product development throughout 2021, with the target of a 30-strong team in place by August.

The Chalkboard platform will comprise a suite of tools that empower small businesses – from salons and restaurants to medical services and estate agents – to manage all their customer interactions from one platform.

A free tool for increasing and improving Facebook and Google reviews is already live, with more than 1,200 local businesses using the service.

Madelin moved to Manchester from London to join Chalkboard, having moved to the UK in 2019. Originally from the US, she has worked in start-ups for the past seven years, the last four of which have been spent in product management.

Prior to joining Chalkboard, Madelin was the co-founder of Tin Roof Collective.

Based in Minneapolis, the company helped start-ups to build and scale their product companies across the US. She was also previously head of product operations at US-based web and mobile app development company, New Lion.

She said: “For too long local businesses have been disadvantaged purely because they don’t have access to the tech to compete with larger organisations. Local businesses transform neighbourhoods into communities, and we’ve seen that more than ever since the pandemic struck. We need to help them level the playing field.”

John Jackson, Chalkboard chief executive, said: “It’s great to welcome Madelin to Chalkboard, and to Manchester. This is a huge year for us, as we accelerate our growth and roll out additional functionality across the platform.

“Local businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, but we’re building the tools they need to find new customers and keep existing customers loyal. Madelin brings huge experience of product management and a real understanding of what our customers need in order to succeed.”

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Last mile multi-utility network owner and operator, Leep Utilities, has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Annette Hardcastle as director of customer operations.

Responsible for the end-to-end management of the customer journey, Hardcastle will oversee all client relationships from the on-boarding process, through to billing, customer service enquiries and collections.

Annette Hardcastle

Joining Salford-based Leep Utilities with more than 12 years’ experience within the utilities sector, Hardcastle’s most recent appointment was at British Gas, as head of collections operations. With the company for 10 years, the role saw Hardcastle create an appropriate customer support structure, developing an environment where clients could seek support and advice when struggling to pay bills.

The appointment follows a period of sustained growth for Leep, including a number of recent new site wins and additional hires within the team.

Managing director, Louise Manfredi, said: “We’re so pleased to welcome Annette to the team, she is a fantastic addition to the business and brings a wealth of sector knowledge and experience.

“With a strong background within the industry Annette is extremely well placed to lead on our customer relations, and will be a great advocate for the business. We pride ourselves on providing only the very best customer service to our clients and we know this will only improve with her on board.”

Hardcastle said: “I’m really happy to be joining the Leep Utilities team, they’re renowned within the industry for providing great customer care and to be able to spearhead this going forward will be fantastic.”

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Independent financial advice firm, Chartered Wealth Management, have promoted two advisors to the role of partner.

Paula Eardley and Tony Robinson are both Chartered Financial Planners and Chartered Wealth Managers and have achieved the highest accolade of Fellowship status in both disciplines.

Director, David Spencer, said: “Paula and Tony have set the standard high in terms of independent advisor qualifications and high quality advice, each having over 25 years’ experience in the industry.

“We are committed to building on the enviable reputation we have in delivering bespoke advice and welcome them both onto the leadership team as we drive the business forward over the coming years.”

Tony Robinson and Paula Eardley

CWM has operations in London and Manchester and both promotions are based in the Manchester office.

Paula, who joined the firm in 2012, is known for her excellent technical knowledge alongside a compassionate and dedicated approach. By focusing on the broader family, she enhances both her client’s and their wider family’s circumstances. She specialises in pre/post business sale planning, post-divorce, lottery wins and inter-generational tax and investment planning.

Tony joined the firm in 2014 and is passionate about client service. His experience allows him to develop and implement bespoke plans to assist clients in the preservation and growth of their assets. With a strong focus on entrepreneurs and family business owners he enjoys working closely with the next generation to ensure that the family legacy is maintained. Tony has a valued network of external professionals whom he can call on to provide a full holistic approach.

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Michelle Bentley has been appointed Redrow Lancashire’s new head of customer service.

She has more than 26 years’ experience, and previous roles saw Michelle lead highly effective customer and stakeholder teams across a broad range of UK infrastructure sectors, including construction, housing, water and energy.

At Redrow’s Buckshaw Village-based Lancashire division, Michelle will lead a team of 13 people, including customer service managers, technicians and coordinators.

Michelle Bentley

She said: “In my previous roles, I have successfully transformed the customer experience process.

“I continuously look for ways to improve customer journeys and become more efficient. In my new role at Redrow I aim to develop excellent communication channels between my team and our customers while also creating a sense of team spirit.”

She added: “It is my role to ensure we deal with customers in an effective and consistent way.”

Claire Jarvis, managing director at Redrow Lancashire, said: “Michelle’s experience in delivering fantastic customer service will put us in excellent stead to ensure our customers’ journeys are positive ones. She is a real asset to the business and I’m sure will help us to retain our HBF five-star status for customer satisfaction.”

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