People: Connexin; Institute of Economic Development; Engage; and more

Hull-based smart technology and digital specialist, Connexin, is continuing its growth by appointing Shadi Halliwell as its new managing director of Connexin Fibre.

With over 30 years of experience working for the biggest names in the telecoms industry such as BT, O2 and Three UK, she will continue to grow one of the largest alternative network providers (alt-nets) in the North.

Furqan Alamgir, co-founder and CEO at Connexin, said: “It fills me with a great deal of pride to welcome Shadi to this new role.

“Her years of experience in the sector make her telco royalty, so we’re honoured to have her as the driving force behind the broadband division.

“Shadi has already brought several game-changing ideas to the table in her previous role at Connexin.

“I look forward to seeing her continue this energy in her new leadership role as she finds fresh and ground-breaking ways to help us continue our acceleration of the Connexin Fibre network nationwide.”

Halliwell’s previous industry experience included her role of head of brand and marcomms at O2.

She was the master mind behind O2 Priority Tickets and as a result, helped make the company the UK’s second largest ticket seller.

She later took up the chief marketing officer position at Three UK, where she revised and re-launched the brand strategy to focus on network quality and the launch of 5G.

Halliwell said: “I’m pleased to be taking on the new role of managing director at Connexin Fibre and excited to be part of such a forward-thinking, ambitious company.

“The off-the-scale growth the business has experienced in the past 12 months is testament to the hard working and dedicated team that made it happen.

“I look forward to working with the team as we enter 2024 and continue to grow the market.”

She moves into the new role having previously held the position as non-executive director at Connexin since 2020.


Kate Martin, executive director of City Futures at Sheffield City Council, has been elected to the Institute of Economic Development (IED) Board.

She has over 22 years’ experience supporting local and regional government in place-shaping and growth, including at executive director level for Sheffield City Council and Southampton City Council. Martin is also a former director of the London Borough of Camden and City of Wolverhampton councils.

She joined Sheffield City Council in March 2022 to set up a new City Futures Directorate for the city.

Her portfolio includes leadership of economy, culture, investment, regeneration and local and international place-shaping partnerships for the UK’s fourth largest city.

She is Sheffield’s lead working with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, as part of the recently-launched South Yorkshire Investment Zone working with central government and regional partners.

A member of the IED for over 10 years, her election as a full Board member was confirmed at the Institute’s Annual General Meeting on 11 December, having originally been co-opted in February.

She said: “As a country we are facing the most significant economic development challenges for a generation, and we need to support professionals involved in economic development, so I am happy to have been elected to the IED Board.

“Following the launch of the IED’s Grow Local, Grow National manifesto last month, we have a clear campaign for change to give councils great statutory powers over economic development, and play a leading role in shaping the UK longer-term.

“That conversation about the economy and sustainable growth, devolution deals and regional growth, must also be underpinned by effective skills development and professional support.

“As part of my remit with the IED, I am really committed to encouraging new and different voices.

“I was involved with the Institute as a student/trainee member, and the training, networking and CPD I accessed in my early career has contributed to my progression in a range of roles.

“Over time, I have seen the organisation grow and be more representative and inclusive, and we must now co-create with young people new paths for economic development practitioners and our response to the next generation of challenges we face as the country goes through an industrial transition.”

Martin is also deputy chair of the UK ADEPT Sustainable Growth Board, a member of the Institute of Place Management, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, and an advisory board member to Sheffield Business School.


Leeds-based digital agency, Engage, has made eight new hires across three teams.

New colleagues Dave Whitrick, Graham Taylor, Emilia Keskinen, Oliver Askew-Sheard, Phoebe Holden, Lucy Bateman, Lucy Roe and Ela Piepiorka  joined the business across the Finance, Design and Performance Marketing teams to support the agency’s drive to continue being the UK’s top rated B-Corp digital agency.

Bringing more than 15 years’ combined experience in the marketing and digital mix, the new hires previously held roles across major businesses including the RAF, Trinity Leeds and Creode.

The Performance Marketing team has been strengthened with three new hires, including the appointment of Whitrick as head of SEO. He will lead the team to deliver SEO insight and expertise across industries, verticals and tech stacks.

He said: “Since my appointment at Engage I’ve really enjoyed getting into the detail, adding strategic input across the SEO function and accounts. I’m excited to help continue driving significant successes across our clients.”

Sanjeevni Dip-Matadeen, head of people development & culture at Engage, added: “We’re thrilled to have seen eight new hires across four different teams.

“Giving us the opportunity to not only deliver top results for our clients but also grow Engage with talent that reflects our values and clients’ missions.

“Engage stands as a testament to resilience and adaptability in the face of industry challenges.

“The company’s proactive approach to talent management, strategic hiring, and investment in employee development positions it as an industry leader not just in performance but in fostering a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.”


Neil Baldwin

Independent accountancy firm, BHP, has made two key promotions within its Charities team.

Neil Baldwin, from the firm’s Cleckheaton office, and Nicola Adams, who is based at the Chesterfield office, have both been promoted to director RI (Responsible Individual), meaning they are able to sign off client audits on behalf of the firm.

Baldwin has been with BHP for 23 years, joining as a trainee after completing his A Levels.

During his time with the business, he has played a key role within the Charities team assisting with audit tenders and regularly supporting with presentations to Boards of Trustees and potential not-for-profit clients.

Adams also joined the firm straight out of school in 2007, and became a Chartered Accountant in 2012, having completed her AAT qualification.

She was previously on the audit committee of Chesterfield College and has been a trustee of Derwent Rural Counselling Service for over 10 years, including being chair from 2016 to 2018.

Jane Marshall, BHP partner and head of charities and not for profit, said: “We’re committed to supporting and developing the skills of our people for the long-term.

“To see Neil and Nicola, who both joined the business at the start of their careers, take the next step on their journey is fantastic and a testament to their hard work on behalf of our charity clients.

“I look forward to continuing to work with them to support our clients as we navigate the continuing challenging economic environment.”

Nicola Adams

Baldwin said: “I’m pleased to be continuing my career journey and growth at such a busy and exciting time for the firm.

“Through my role as a Responsible Individual, I look forward to working closely and supporting clients on their journeys, as well as continuing to help coach and support my colleagues.”

Adams said: “I am extremely proud to have achieved this promotion at BHP. A Responsible Individual role was always something I personally wanted to achieve in my career.

“BHP has given me the support and opportunity to do this, and I am looking forward to taking on new responsibilities and putting pen to paper on audit reports.”