People: Minster Law; Blacks Solicitors; Humber Business Week; and more

Jane Brodie has been appointed people director at Wakefield-based Minster Law.

Brodie formally joined the business in February this year and she reports to CEO Shirley Woolham.

Brodie said: “Minster Law has a formidable reputation for investing in and developing colleagues to be the best that they can be.

“The business has a history of delivering innovation and exceptional client outcomes in a challenging sector and our colleagues are the most crucial element of that delivery.

“I am excited to be joining an organisation that is open to thinking differently about providing a nurturing and supportive environment to attract and retain the best talent.

“I have worked across a range of industry sectors in my career from manufacturing, high technology and financial services and I continue to find people and culture fascinating – that will never change.”

Woolham added: “Jane brings significant HR and leadership skills to the business, developed throughout her 20-year career in high-value, forward-thinking organisations.

“Her skills and experience are an ideal fit for Minster Law. We hold ourselves to very high-standards when it comes to our people, no more evident than in our recent Platinum reaccreditation from Investors in People.

“Jane will play a vital role in ensuring our colleague proposition and agenda remains at the forefront of what makes our business successful.”

Brodie has spent her entire career in human resources and people development, starting with Saint-Gobain Quartz, then moving to Npower and Sage before joining Smith & Nephew to support its global manufacturing transformation strategy.

In 2017, she joined Equifax, supporting its UK and Ireland strategy alongside its wider, global digital transformation.


Blacks Solicitors has welcomed back four returnees to strengthen its offering.

Kirsteen McFadzean has been reappointed as business development director to drive the business development function of the firm.

Saby Sambhi has rejoined as a partner in the Corporate team and Pete Konieczko-Hansom is a senior associate solicitor across the Corporate and Commercial teams, and head of Intellectual Property.

Blacks has also invested in its niche specialisms with the return of Pete Bott to establish the Music Law arm of the firm.

McFadzean previously joined Blacks in 2013 as head of business development.

She has spent several years working in firms across Yorkshire to build on her experience, including Shulmans and LCF. She aims to build the business development function to drive referrals and support the teams in delivering an excellent service to existing and new clients.

McFadzean said: “Blacks is one of Yorkshire’s leading law firms and is well-positioned as a full service firm in the region, assisting clients across the UK.

“The firm has great potential and my role will support the teams in realising this. People who work or who have worked at Blacks will also be aware of the positive, progressive and vibrant culture.

“It has a brilliant team that feels like family, which is one of the key reasons that I decided to return.”

Both Sambhi and Konieczko-Hansom have rejoined to strengthen the firm’s Corporate and Commercial offerings.

Sambhi initially joined Blacks in 2014, before joining the Corporate team of a leading national firm where he developed his expertise in private equity backed and multi-jurisdictional transactions. He was recently promoted to partner.

Konieczko-Hansom first joined Blacks in 2016. During his time away, he gained significant experience working for different firms across Yorkshire, as well in London for the Government’s Legal Department.

He rejoined Blacks as a senior associate solicitor and brings extensive experience in a wide range of matters, including share sale, management buyouts, supply and distribution agreements.

Following a successful career in the music industry, Bott trained as a solicitor and qualified at Blacks in 2012.

He recently returned to Blacks as a partner and head of Music Law, after working for two specialist music law firms in London.

With first-hand experience of the music industry, he is known for his ability to explain complex legal issues to his clients in a practical manner and aims to expand the new specialist Music Law team.

Tom Moyes, equity partner at Blacks, said: “The four returnees’ decisions to return to the firm are testament to the progressive and positive culture which we have built.

“Without our people we wouldn’t be able to service our clients as well as we do. We have a significant focus on building a supportive environment that our team is proud to be a part of.”


Humber Business Week chair, Kath Lavery, is stepping down following this June’s event after 14 years at the helm – and 19 years helping to stage the region’s annual ‘Festival of Business’.

Lavery said she has taken the decision to step back due to increasing work demands as chair of Rotherham, Doncaster & South Humber Foundation Trust, and to allow the event to “take a new direction” in future years.

She has been involved in every Humber Business Week since its inception in 2004, when she was appointed to a steering group in her role as Hull City Council cabinet member for Business and the Economy. 

The week was the brainchild of founder Paul Sewell, who had previously helped bring the Yorkshire International Business Convention (YIBC) – an event which attracted world-leading figures as speakers – to Hull for one day in 2003.

He built on that success and steered the week through growth each year until 2009, when Lavery took the reins as chair.

Humber Business Week has been staged in the first week of June every year since, only missing from the calendar in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Lavery said: “When I’m asked what is special about Humber Business Week I always say it’s how it all comes together and happens.

“By that I mean that it only happens because there are so many people who want to make it happen, and work so hard to ensure it does.

“I’ve led it as chair for 14 years, but over those years we’ve had so many people from the local business community give up their time as part of a steering group to pull the week together, supported of course by the businesses themselves which plan and stage events throughout the week.

“Other cities and regions have tried to follow the model and it hasn’t worked like it has here. I’ve been asked how we do it, and I’ve always said is because the businesses and people here want it, and they make it work.”

Looking forward, Humber Business Week 2023 will be officially launched at the Lexington Rooftop Bar & Terrace in the Doubletree by Hilton, Hull on Thursday 20 April.

Lavery added: “Of course it will be a bit strange for me this year, knowing it’s my last year as chair. Business Week has been a huge part of my life, and it is always a thrill to see it come together, and experience that buzz throughout the week,” she said.

“Many people have attended and taken part in Business Week each year since I became chair, so I hope to see them involved again this year, and maybe some who have not taken part in recent years also.

“Most importantly I want to see new businesses and new people involved, the next generation.”


Online bathroom retailer, Victoria Plum, has appointed a head of HR to support the delivery of the company’s people strategy.

Amy Bloomfield joins the Doncaster-headquartered business from her role as HR business partner at Genting Casinos UK, where she helped deliver a HR function for more than 2,500 colleagues.

In her new role, she has responsibility further enhancing Victoria Plum’s HR strategy and engaging with the executive board on its implementation across the business.

Founded in 2001, the business employs around 400 people and has sales of £113m. In 2020, Victoria Plum took the decision for all its people to permanently work remotely.

The only exceptions to this are the teams working in the company’s 275,000 sq ft distribution facility in Doncaster and across its nationwide delivery network.

Bloomfield said: “The opportunity to take ownership of Victoria Plum’s HR function and create the environment for the ongoing delivery of excellent levels of colleague engagement is a very exciting one.

“Due to the business having a combination of remote and onsite working, there are a range of HR initiatives already in place.

“I intend to further evolve them to ensure we remain a connected and motivated organisation as the Victoria Plum continues on its growth journey.”

Alongside her HR role, she will also oversee the delivery of Victoria Plum’s environment, social and governance strategy.

This includes leading on the online bathroom retailer’s community foundation initiative, which sees the company support projects within local communities that are chosen by its employees.

Chief executive, Paul McClenaghan, said: “Amy is an excellent addition to the team. She has demonstrable success and will apply that knowledge and experience to our business as we look to further expand our business.

“We are very pleased to have Amy lead our HR operations and look forward to her working with the executive board to help shape the ongoing growth and development of Victoria Plum’s people strategy.”