People: NWBLT; Altius Group; Career Connect; QASSS; Buckshaw Retirement Village; MHA Moore Smalley

Rachel O'Donnell

The North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) has welcomed Rachel O’Donnell, lead for nuclear at Mace Consult, as its latest new member.

Rachel is a nationally respected leader in the energy sector with an impressive track record of delivering significant net zero projects.

North West Business Leadership Team chair, Jonathan Murphy, said: “Rachel brings with her a wealth of expertise that will add huge value to our work. In addition to being a champion of women in engineering, she is also an alumni of the NWBLT’s Rising Stars Group and is soon to be formally announced as the new chair of the Northern Nuclear Alliance (NNA).”

Rachel said: “I’m excited to be able to bring my knowledge and influence in the nuclear industry, as well as the project and programme delivery experience of Mace’s consultancy arm, to the NWBLT. Equally, I can’t wait to hear from members and take my own learnings back to sector peers and Mace’s projects and people across the region.”


Sunil Patel

Altius Group has appointed Sunil Patel as the new director of its healthcare team. Sunil and his team are part of Redwoods Dowling Kerr (RDK), the group’s healthcare and childcare brand.

Sunil joins Lancashire-based Altius at a key point in the firm’s development. His appointment comes following the company’s announcement earlier this year of its goal to double in size by 2025.

The experienced sales manager joins from financial services business, SaltPay. Prior to this, Sunil was head of internal broker sales at Together. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience in the finance and sales sectors.

Alongside Sunil, Altius has also added two new sales negotiators, Laura Evans and Pradip Patel, to the RDK Healthcare team. They join experienced negotiators Mohammed Member and Asif Musa as the team grows in response to increased activity in the healthcare sector.

Sunil, who will be working closely with Altius COO, Kevin Allcock, said: “The RDK brand is well known for healthcare expertise, and we have a team of genuinely talented people here who really understand the sector, and create the best possible deals for our clients.”

Kevin Allcock said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have Sunil on board. RDK is one of our most successful brands and under Sunil’s leadership, the healthcare team will undoubtedly go from strength to strength.”


Sheila Clark

Career Connect CEO Sheila Clark has been appointed vice-chair of Careers England, playing a key role in advocating for and representing the voice of the careers guidance industry.

Sheila will combine her board membership at Careers England with her role as CEO of Liverpool-based Careers Guidance and social mobility charity Career Connect.

She is also a key figure in E3M’s Social Enterprise Leaders’ Club, an initiative that supports leaders from the largest and most successful UK social enterprises.

Sheila said: “Nobody should underestimate the pivotal role of high quality, impartial Careers Information, Advice and Guidance to change lives. Effective careers guidance has the power to enable social mobility and raise aspirations for generations to come.”

Kieran Gordon, executive director of Careers England, said: “It is vital that our organisation is well represented at these senior levels, and I know that Sheila’s leadership, knowledge and experience of our sector will be a great asset in how we perform our role.”


Marie Dwyer

Manchester-based QASSS, the resolution services provider to the home improvement and renewable energy sectors, has appointed Marie Dwyer as customer experience manager.

Hailing from John Lewis, Marie will be responsible for building a new team which will resolve customer disputes on behalf of a new, high profile retailer within the home improvement sector.

Utilising a human-first approach, she will create a seven-day operation complaint resolution service that manages communications between the retailer and its clients to resolve disputes with speed and accuracy, helping the brand to save time and money, while ensuring its reputation is protected.

Marie said: “To have the support of QASSS to head up this new venture for such a well renowned retailer is incredibly exciting. I look forward to guiding the team through early and effective dispute resolution strategies, and in doing so, eventually expanding the number of respected home improvement brands to the QASSS portfolio.”

Ciarán Harkin, managing director of QASSS, said: “It was clear from the outset that Marie’s skillset and human-first approach echoed our core values. Her experience and knowledge of how to avoid claim escalation makes her the perfect candidate to build this new team, and ultimately, support the acceleration of our core service offering.”


Hayle Rowson De Vares

A retirement village in the heart of Lancashire has appointed a new manager at its specialist care home for those living with dementia.

Hayley Rowson de Vares is the new manager at The Lodge, which is located within Buckshaw Retirement Village in Chorley. The Lodge is designed to support people living with dementia and the challenges they face.

Hayley joins Buckshaw Retirement Village following a three-decade career where she has managed residential and nursing homes, mental health services and supported housing schemes. She was previously a regional social care manager for a range of complex care services across Liverpool and The Wirral.

Terry Peel, CEO at HICA Group, which manages Buckshaw Retirement Village, said: “It’s great to have someone of Hayley’s calibre on board. She is a highly experienced and skilled care professional who will enhance the delivery of care at The Lodge.”

Hayley Rowson de Vares said: “I am very excited to start my new role as manager at The Lodge and continue to develop the home as a beacon for high quality dementia and end of life care.”


Jack Steer, Yvonne Coulston, Graham Gordon, Catherine Holt

Accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley has made a trio of director level appointments in the North West.

Jack Steer, who is based at MHA Moore and Smalley’s Lancaster office, has been promoted to director in the firm’s audit team. He has been with the company since graduating the University of Manchester in 2011.

Yvonne Coulston has been promoted to director from senior manager within the accounts and advisory team. She will continue to support all of the firm’s agricultural clients across the North West.

Catherine Holt has been promoted to director of business operations, based at the Preston office. She was previously business operations manager.

Managing partner, Graham Gordon, said: “As MHA Moore and Smalley continues to grow across our seven offices, we must ensure that we offer progression opportunities to colleagues whose values align with our own.”

Jack, who was previously corporate services senior manager, specialises in advising owner-managed businesses. He said: “I’ve enjoyed growing my knowledge and experience as the businesses has also expanded throughout the North West. I’m looking forward to contributing in a more senior capacity as it continues to grow in the coming years.”

Yvonne has a total of 15 years’ experience in accountancy, specialising in the farming sector. Catherine has worked for the firm for around five years. Her specialist knowledge includes Financial Conduct Authority regulation, project management and operational efficiencies. Her new role will include a wider responsibility for processes and working practices across the firm.