People: Social; iomart; Addleshaw Goddard; Turley; Stephensons

Laura Bell

Integrated communications agency, Social has appointed senior communications advisor, Laura Bell as a director to lead its new Liverpool-based operation, which covers the Merseyside region, Lancashire and Cumbria.

The move comes as the region gears up for a post-COVID, levelling-up era.

With Liverpool’s thriving export channels and the diverse economies, opportunities and cultural gems of the wider city region, Lancashire and Cumbria, the North West coast has an even more vital part to play in the regional economy.

Bell’s extensive regional network and knowledge will further strengthen the agency’s ability in supporting businesses and organisations locally to maximise these opportunities.

Laura brings with her vast experience in public and third sector communications, having previously worked in senior roles at South Lakeland District Council and Volunteering Matters, where she delivered its rebrand from Community Service Volunteers (CSV).

Most recently, the former Liverpool Daily Post and Echo journalist has worked in further education and with The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as an independent consultant.

In her new role, she will support clients on PR and engagement strategies in what will be the agency’s fifth regional office alongside Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and London.

Laura said: “I’m delighted to be joining a fast-growing agency at such an important time in its development. Having lived and worked across Cumbria, Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region I know how much the North West coast has to offer. It has huge potential, despite the challenges ahead, and deserves to be better recognised nationally and internationally.”

John Quinton Barber, founder and group CEO of Social, said: “As an agency with deep roots in the Northern Powerhouse, opening a Liverpool-based office has always been in our sights as we continue to support clients on the much-needed levelling-up agenda.

“From our work with NP11 covering place, inward investment, skills and business growth to major transport campaigns around HS2 and NPR, bolstering our team with the skills that Laura brings and her knowledge of the public and private sector landscape in the Liverpool City Region and beyond means we are even better placed to help drive these pan-Northern campaigns, particularly in the post-COVID-19 landscape.”


Iomart has announced the appointment of a group marketing director to lead the managed cloud service provider’s brand acceleration strategy.

Sharon Mars Leach previously led the expansion of independent marcomms agency BIG Partnership into the North West of England. Her new role will see her take responsibility for marketing strategy across the iomart group as the AIM-listed plc, which has a significant presence in Manchester, continues to strengthen its brand within the growing market for cloud computing services.

Mars Leach said: “I’m joining iomart at an exciting time in its development, when there is a huge rise in cloud adoption.

“There’s enormous potential to widen awareness of the value we can bring to organisations as they re-shape their digital future – iomart is an industry leader and Scottish and UK success story whose progress I have followed over many years.

“I’m looking forward to bringing fresh insight and ideas into the business in order to accelerate our growth.”

Mars Leach is the first new addition to iomart’s management team since Reece Donovan took over as CEO in October 2020, reinforcing iomart’s desire to strengthen its management team to deliver on its growth strategy.

Sharon Mars Leach

Donovan said: “We are delighted to welcome Sharon to the iomart management team. She has a wealth of strategic experience gained from advising global companies and I look forward to working with her as we continue to drive our business forward.”

She joins iomart from professional services firm EY where she was responsible for brand, marketing and communications strategy in Scotland.

Mars Leach spent nine years with BIG Partnership, working with clients such as Deloitte, Transport for London, Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK and Scottish governments and the Commonwealth Games.

She became a board director before leaving to set up as a freelance consultant, advising tech start-ups and FTSE 100 businesses. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Chartered Institute of Marketing.


Senior lawyer Sarah Jay has joined Addleshaw Goddard’s North West finance team from Pinsent Masons – the fifth addition to the team since lockdown, following a very busy year which saw the team continue to advise on the most significant deals in the region.

Sarah, who joins as a legal director, has experience advising banks and borrowers on domestic and cross-border financing transactions, and she brings experience in real estate, corporate and leveraged finance.

Sarah Jay

Martin O’Shea, lead partner in the North West finance team, said: “Sarah has been a well-known figure in the local market for a number of years, and her arrival reflects our ongoing desire to recruit the best talent to deliver the quality advice and service our clients want.”

“Our team continues to grow in both size and strength and Sarah’s arrival will help us to build further on this, so we are thrilled to have her join.”

Sarah said: “I’m delighted to be joining the team during a period of exciting growth and opportunities and look forward to working with our clients and my new team mates to make the most of our position in the market.”


Planning and development consultancy Turley has further strengthened its environmental impact assessment (EIA) service in Manchester, appointing Kyle Welburn as associate director.

Kyle brings 10 years of experience working with clients across the UK, advising on and delivering environmental impact assessment across a range of sectors, but with significant experience in the commercial and property sector.

He joins Turley from Avison Young where he advised on EIA strategy and delivering EIA across the UK with a particular focus across the North of England and London.

Kyle adds to the broad technical skills in Turley’s EIA team. He is also a member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)’s national Impact Assessment Steering Group and is responsible for leading and contributing to national guidance on EIA.

In addition to growing its EIA team, Turley recently appointed Hannah Cooper as part of the ongoing growth of its sustainability practice. Hannah joins as consultant and will add to the business’s seven-strong sustainability team.

Kyle Welburn

Hannah brings a wealth of experience from her previous role at Jacobs. She delivered climate change resilience assessment for HS2, acted as environmental lead to United Utilities for 30 design and build wastewater projects, and embedded sustainability at the programme and project level for the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Capital Programme.

Hannah’s appointment enables the continued growth in key sustainability services at Turley including climate change EIA, carbon management, BREEAM and lifecycle assessment (LCA).

Head of EIA, Andy Ricketts, said: “Our sustainability service has continued to go from strength to strength throughout 2020 as we see an increased demand for trusted advisors who value the early identification and management of risks and the benefits that sustainability can bring when it is central to the design and consenting process. I’m really pleased to welcome Kyle and Hannah to the team.”

Kyle said: “I am very excited to be joining Turley as a leader in high quality, proportionate and commercial-focussed EIA practice. I’m looking forward to collaborating with my new colleagues across the company and getting stuck into working on a number of exciting new appointments.”


National law firm, Stephensons, has appointed two solicitors to its commercial department as the firm continues to see strong demand for its legal services.

David Jones joins the team from FDR Law in Warrington. Having qualified as a solicitor three years ago, David has strong experience in dispute resolution and his role at Stephensons will see him working primarily within the property dispute section of the litigation team.

Sheroze Nadeem also joins the Stephensons team from Napthens. A newly qualified solicitor, Sheroze will join Stephensons’ experienced commercial litigation team, working on a variety of cases including contract disputes, pursuing breaches of restrictive covenants and helping clients with shareholder disputes among others.
Sheroze began his legal career at Stephensons in 2018 before leaving to complete his training contract with another firm.

Louise Hebborn, partner and head of the commercial litigation team at Stephensons, said: “Both David and Sheroze are stars of the future and bring with them a real passion for the legal profession. I am delighted to welcome them both to the team.

“Despite the challenges we have all faced over the past 12 months, we continue to see strong demand for our expertise and specialist legal services.

“Both David and Sheroze will bolster that offering further and ensure we continue to provide our commercial clients the very best legal advice and support through this difficult economic period.”

David Jones and Sheroze Nadeem