Greater Manchester Leaders Plus Mentors

Each Leaders Plus candidate is paired with a senior mentor from our cross-sector network. These mentors provide a ‘safe space’ sounding board for candidates, as well as invaluable experience and insights from their own careers. See here for more about mentoring.

Ru Anwar
Partner – Trowers & Hamlins 

Ru is a partner in the Trowers Investment and Development team, with 20 years of commercial property and development expertise. She has worked for public- and private-sector clients from the NHS, local authorities and registered providers to international retail clients. She advises on a variety of matters, from general landlord and tenant matters to Development Agreements and PFI restructuring. Ru has also acted on many development projects, specialising in registered provider ‘golden brick’ and new-build social housing projects. She was property lead on several multi-million-pound new-build NHS schemes, acting for the NHS and local authorities, and has been lead advisor for large registered providers on acquiring major mixed-use schemes.  

Caroline Baker
Partner – North West, Cushman & Wakefield 

Caroline advises public-sector clients to understand their development markets, how to reposition areas and how to unlock development through working with the private sector. She has led Cushman & Wakefield’s North West office for over five years, with oversight of all aspects of the development industry as well as working with urban designers, engineers and other specialists. With nearly 30 years in the industry, Caroline still gets excited about getting involved in the next regeneration project. She is a proud resident of Manchester. 

Jessica Bowles
Director – Strategic Partnerships & Impact, Bruntwood 

Jessica joined Bruntwood in 2016, helping to support the company’s ambitions for long-term growth. As a member of the Group Board, her focus is on the company’s external relationships with partners and on Bruntwood’s ESG and social value agenda. Previously, Jessica spent 15 years in Whitehall before moving to Manchester City Council as head of City Policy, supporting work on devolution, the Northern Powerhouse and the ‘Our Manchester’ partnership strategy. Amongst other external roles, Jessica is a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership ExCo, GM’s Cycling and Walking Board and is a Trustee for start-up orchestra Manchester Baroque. 

Eamonn Boylan
Chief Executive – Greater Manchester Combined Authority 

Eamonn was appointed Chief Executive in January 2017. He chairs the Greater Manchester Wider Leadership Team and is responsible for Policy & Strategy and core GM services including Fire & Rescue, Waste, Transport, Economic Development and Planning. He also is jointly accountable for the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan for the transformation of Health and Social Care. Prior to that he was Chief Executive of Stockport MBC from 2011, leading the Council’s £1bn programme of investment in infrastructure and town centre regeneration. Previous roles include Deputy Chief Executive of the Homes & Communities Agency and of Manchester City Council, where he led the Regeneration Division and helped shape Strategic Regeneration programmes across the city.  

Chris Cheap
Principal & Managing Director, Transactions – Avison Young 

Chris is a highly experienced real estate professional with an outstanding track record in the development and leasing of workspace across the UK for multi-disciplinary global property advisors Avison Young. Chris has held several leadership positions within the business, having been a member of its UK Executive for some seven years and most recently devising and delivering its Transformation & Growth programme. 

Danny Crump
Director of Urbanism – Layer Studio 

Danny is a Chartered Landscape Architect with 20+ years’ experience. A passionate placeshaper, he joined Layer.studio in 2023, heading its UK Urbanism team and establishing a Place Team to promote value-driven advocacy in the built environment for multi-sectoral clients. Danny’s broad experience includes several award-winning projects, and his expertise includes city core regeneration, urban realm masterplanning, city street and space design, public squares and parks and university campus projects. He is usually lead designer on commissions, is experienced in site diagnosis and uses urban data analytics to inform the design process. Danny is also APMP-certified, recognising his knowledge of all aspects of project management. Danny also sits on DLUHC’S High Street Task Force Expert/Mentor and Facilitator Panel.  

Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath
Director of Growth – L&Q 

Jacqueline is part of L&Q’s Development & Sales leadership team. She oversees New Business, Development & Regeneration, Development Partnerships and Communities teams, operating nationally. Architecturally trained, Jacqui has held senior roles in the public and private sectors and has a passion for creating exciting new places to live. In previous roles at East Thames, Moat, Capita, Tribal Group and Guinness Trust, she led residential property development, housing & management consultancy, regeneration, private sector renewal and residential sales & marketing. Jacqui is also a skilled mentor and non-executive director, with 20+ years providing strategic leadership in the not-for-profit sector. She is currently a NED of Yorkshire Housing Ltd and Chair of its Growth & Investment Committee. 

Paul Gibbons
Managing Principal – Decipher Group 

Paul is founder and CEO of Decipher, established in 2001, with nearly 25 years in the construction industry. His core discipline is quantity surveying, but over the last 10 years, Paul has developed expertise in claims, disputes, expert witness, project programming and construction law. Paul has been involved in a variety of construction projects in various sectors, including power, civil engineering, aviation, nuclear, railways, utilities and hospitals. Paul’s career has included senior contract and commercial positions and many roles involving adjudication and development of final accounts for contractors and subcontractors. He is also a counsellor and a RICS APC Pathway assessor.   

Angela Harrington
Director, Inclusive Growth – Manchester City Council 

Angela’s responsibilities include Manchester Adult Education Service, the Work & Skills Team and the development and delivery of the council’s Digital Strategy. She chairs Manchester’s Family Poverty group and is working with other anchor institutions in the city to promote Manchester as a Living Wage place and use their positions as civic institutions to provide employment opportunities for more disadvantaged Mancunians. 

Jane Healey Brown
Director & Global Town Planning & Policy Skills Leader – Arup 

Jane leads Planning in Arup’s North West and Yorkshire offices and oversees town planning, environment and transport planning in Manchester. She is a GM Commissioner for Planning & Housing and lectures at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester. She also helps the North West Business Leadership Team respond to the UK2070 Commission. Jane has worked on a range of projects, including the GM Spatial Framework, major regeneration-led masterplans, nuclear power stations and rail-related projects. Jane has considerable experience helping local authorities prepare Local Plans. She is passionate about city governance, devolution, inclusive growth and social value. Jane is a Fellow of the RTPI and was a 2018 Northern Power Woman. 

John Herring
Director of Organisational Development & Culture – NHS GM 

John has 20+ years’ experience as a leader across public services. Initially trained as a psychological therapist, John went on to set up a drop-in and therapy centre for homeless people in Liverpool in 2000 before moving on to roles across public services and landing in the NHS as a senior manager overseeing provision of mental health services. John has worked as part of the devolution of Health and Care across GM since its inception in 2016, working on several areas addressing the leadership, cultural and system design challenges of implementing an integrated approach to public service provision. John is also the Chair of the arts charity, Abandon Normal Devices, and was key to delivering Manchester’s Nightingale Hospital during the pandemic. 

Claire Norman
Director of Communications & Engagement – GMCA, NHS GM, Mayor of Greater Manchester 

Claire has been in this complex, three-part post for more than five years, leading multi-award-winning teams who look after multiple clients including GM Fire & Rescue Services and the NHS. The role puts Claire in a unique position working across a wide part of the public sector and at the heart of the city-region’s public services. GM has a history of partnership working, with collective and collaborative policy responses to the big challenges of our time, from the pandemic and emergency situations to deep-rooted inequalities. 

Stephen O’Malley
Chief Executive – Civic Engineers 

Stephen is passionate about urban infrastructure and sets about his work aiming to engineer less, reaching first for nature-based solutions and applying these principles with a high degree of emotional intelligence. The skills Stephen has developed to engineer healthy, active and attractive urban neighbourhoods are broad. His fusion and practice of these engineering skills enables the creation of inspirational public spaces that have a positive impact on the environment and enable people to lead healthier and happier lives. This creative and inclusive approach has seen Stephen recognised as an industry expert including as an Architecture & Design Scotland Panellist, a Design Council Associate and a New London Architecture Expert Panel Member for Wellbeing. He was recently NW Chair of Institute of Civil Engineers.  

Andrew Pattinson
Partner & Head of Real Estate North – Shoosmiths  

Andrew has more than 25 years’ experience in the real estate sector. He has a focus on development and investment and heads up the student sector team at Shoosmiths. Andrew is known for his practical approach, and was named as a leading individual in the Legal 500.  

Graham Ritchie
Head of Commercial Mortgages North – Aldermore Bank 

In his current post since 2020, Graham has 37 years in the banking sector. He is MCIBS-qualified and has worked for several of the large clearing banks, building societies and challenger/ specialist banks. For nearly 25 years, he has specialised in commercial real estate finance, covering investment and development funding for clients with debt requirements from £1m – £50m. Before joining Aldermore in 2019, Graham had real estate roles at Bank of Scotland, Yorkshire Bank and Nationwide, from loan origination, portfolio management & oversight, debt restructures and workout. He also held senior leadership roles covering Risk, Compliance and Governance. 

Katie Saunders
Partner & Head of Manchester Construction – Trowers & Hamlins 

Katie has 25+ years’ experience advising on UK real estate construction contracts and is known for her work with housing providers procuring regeneration, investment and asset management projects. Katie supports clients through the procurement process, speaks regularly at conferences on best practice, and is a Board Member of The Housing Forum. Committed to encouraging diversity in construction, Katie and her team wrote a construction law course being taught in schools as part of the ‘Design Engineer Construct’ course and she supports the Save Construction Initiative to improve procurement practices for small businesses. She was named Real Estate Lawyer of the Year 2023 at the inaugural Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Awards. 

Neil Walmsley
UK/Europe Regional Director – Hatch Urban Solutions 

Neil is a chartered engineer and planner and was appointed to his current post in January 2023. Over a 25+ year career in the built environment sector, Neil has played a pivotal role in building diverse, large and influential consultancy teams in several regional markets. His project portfolio includes urban development and transport projects across the UK, Middle East, India and Southeast Asia including Bradford’s Airedale Master Plan, Dubai’s 2020 Transport Master Plan, Abu Dhabi’s Plan Capital 2030 and Indonesia’s New Capital Master Plan. He has also served on the Singapore Government’s Design Advisory Council since 2021. 

Mike Wilton 
Director & Leader of Manchester Office, Arup

Mike has more than 30 years’ experience in the development of infrastructure. He has particular expertise in the remediation of large contaminated sites, urban public realm, transforming utility networks, high speed rail, and drainage and flooding. He works with government, infrastructure owners, and developers on some of the UK’s largest projects, working closely with planners, urban designers and commercial specialists. He has a passion for sustainable design and has spoken at conferences on sustainability issues. He has worked throughout the UK, and in in Botswana, Europe, America, and the Middle and Far East. 

Follow this link to see the mentors from the current Leaders Plus round in London.