People: Women in Property; BDO; Lesniak Swann; Chorley Group; Places for People; Mobica

Rachael Cunliffe

Rachael Cunliffe, from Engage 5, is the new North West branch Chair of Women in Property (WiP), the influencing and networking organisation for the property and construction industry.

The founder of Engage 5, a Business Development consultancy specialising in the Property and Construction sector, took up the post for one year from 1 March.

Women in Property uses its platform to influence Government, including the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Work. Amongst the issues that the APPG is influencing are Women Returners, Making the Industrial Strategy Work for Women, How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century, Inclusivity and Intersectionality, The Impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace, and the recruitment and retention of women in construction for the 7th Inquiry for Excellence in the Built Environment.

Women in Property also works to encourage girls and young women to consider a career in property and construction through school outreach projects and the National Student Awards.

Rachael said: “My passion lies in developing confidence, and nurturing connections and friendships through our extensive events programme.   As we challenge gender imbalance, one of the main career barriers in our industry, our goal is to create an environment that supports the career growth of all our members.”

Alongside her own consultancy Engage 5, Rachel works with Harley Haddow as their Business Development specialist across their UK offices including Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fort William.

Ian Chalk, Director of Harley Haddow’s Manchester office added: “We are so proud of Rachael and what she’s done with Women in Property over the last seven years. She is a vital part of our team and all the work she is doing to highlight representation of women in the industry is truly inspiring. With recruitment challenges across the board in the property industry, it is vital we encourage more entrants into the sector, and she has done a fantastic job in ensuring girls and young women know the paths they can take. We look forward to seeing Rachael thrive in driving forward what WIP is all about.”

Since joining Women in Property in 2017 Rachael has been on the the Events and CPD committee and, last year was Vice Chair of the North West branch.

Supporting Rachael in her role is Steph Cox who became branch Vice Chair on 1 March.  Steph is Director of Geo-Environmental Consultancy, E3P Ltd.


Emma Lomas

Emma Lomas has joined accountancy and business advisory firm BDO as Indirect Tax Director, as part of a triple swoop from rival Grant Thornton. 

She specialises in both the not-for-profit and private healthcare sectors, and previously led the national VAT offering in private healthcare at Grant Thornton.

At BDO, she will focus on developing the North West team and help strengthen the firm’s indirect tax offering to build on the team’s reputation in the North West.

Joining her is Shannon Evans – an Indirect Tax Assistant Manager – who specialises in all aspects of VAT advice. She also brings experience in not-for-profit and healthcare – sectors which BDO has a strong client base.

Completing the trio of hires is Helen Stancombe, who brings more than four years’ experience to the role of Indirect Tax Assistant Manager.

Richard Hogg, Indirect Tax Partner at BDO in the North West, commented: “We have built a strong and collaborative VAT team in the last few years – one that places exceptional client service and the provision of quality, trusted advice at the centre of everything it does. Emma, Shannon and Helen will perfectly complement our market proposition and will help to strengthen our position in the region moving forward.


Alexander Swann, Rob Morrice and Mark Lesniak

Industrial marketing agency Lesniak Swann has appointed industry stalwart Rob Morrice as chairman, with a brief to help drive the agency’s ambitious expansion plans. 

Lesniak Swann works for big name brands including Michelin, Polypipe, Norgren IMI, Etex Group and Caterpillar dealer Finning UK and Ireland. 

Over ten years Morrice took Smarts from start-up to being worth £4 million. While his 18 year tenure at Stein saw him transform the ailing Cheshire agency into one generating revenues of more than £15 million a year.   

Alexander Swann, managing director of Lesniak Swann observed: “Rob is a legendary name in B2B marketing circles and has an extremely impressive track record developing agencies on a global scale – most recently with Stein IAS.”

Rob Morrice commented: “I’ve been really impressed by the ambitious and talented people we have right through the Lesniak Swann team, in part as it reminds me of when I started at Stein IAS. Back then there was a similarly high level of talent and drive that proved to be a magic combination.”


Stuart Leatherbarrow

Motor dealership Chorley Group has appointed industry expert Stuart Leatherbarrow to the senior management team as the Group Used Strategy Manager. 

He spent the last decade as the Partnership Director at Autotrader where he shaped the company’s approach to partnering with automotive retailers, developing goal-led strategies and data driven retail solutions, driving up their performance, and demonstrating an in depth understanding of the industry dynamics.  

Adam Turner the Managing Director of Chorley Group, expressed his enthusiasm about Stuart joining the team, stating: “We’re really pleased to welcome Stuart to the Chorley family. His work at Autotrader, combined with his first-hand dealer side experiences places him perfectly to develop this new role for the group.” 

Chorley Group currently operates 16 businesses across the Northwest and has scheduled growth to take that up to 21 businesses in 2024, employing a workforce of 350.  


Dinny Shaw

Social housing provider Places for People has appointed a new Head of Planning, Dinny Shaw.

Previously head of planning at St. Modwen Homes, where she was responsible for growing and managing the strategic land planning portfolio. She was also highly involved in creating a Biodiversity Net Gain plan for the business and created community engagement strategies.

She has had a varied career across public and private sectors and has worked across a broad range of development projects from acquisition through promotion to planning and delivery.

In her new role at Places for People, Dinny will provide key planning oversight into the company’s strategic direction across all regions of the UK and will manage and grow planning opportunities within the business. 

She said: “It’s a very exciting time to join Places for People, and I’m so pleased to be on board. With a clear focus on placemaking and communities, I am particularly looking forward to reflecting on my experiences to advise on environmental, social and governance issues from a planning perspective, and help to deliver sustainable new communities for all.”

Jon Cook, Chief Executive Officer – Developments at Places for People says: “As we look to build on our strategic approach to ensure the consistent delivery of homes across the UK, we are so pleased to have appointed Dinny as Head of Planning. Her wealth of experience will help us build on our strong reputation for the planning and delivery of large-scale, mixed-used schemes and enable us to continue to create inclusive and sustainable communities that thrive.”


Gary Butters, CEO of Mobica

Mobica, the Manchester-headquartered software and engineering provider, has announced Gary Butters as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Gary joined Mobica as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) in November 2020 and as part of outgoing CEO Sam Kingston’s leadership team, delivered significant success, leading to Mobica’s acquisition by Cognizant in March 2023 which expanded Cognizant’s IoT embedded software engineering capabilities.

Founded in 2004, it serves a number of sectors, with particular expertise in the automotive, manufacturing, industrial and semiconductor industries. 

Commenting on his appointment, Gary says: “Over the past few years, Mobica has seen demand for our world-class engineering increase significantly, particularly with the acceleration in AI and machine learning. This has seen some of the once ‘traditional’ industries such as automotive and manufacturing undergo a radical transformation.

“As a result, companies are increasingly seeking skilled professionals – particularly in areas such as software development, AI, IoT, and data analytics – in order to stay competitive and meet evolving customer expectations. However, they are vying for a limited pool of technology talent, so access to Mobica engineering services has been vital to enable our customers to remain agile in a rapidly evolving landscape.

“Our ongoing growth is a testament to our team of dedicated ‘Mobicans’ and our unwavering dedication to delivering cutting-edge software engineering solutions. We have consistently provided clients with access to top-tier engineering talent, enabling them to drive digital transformation and achieve their business objectives. I am looking forward to working with our talented team as we continue our ambitious growth plans.”

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