Meet the mentors

This programme relies on industry leaders to get involved and hand over their wisdom to a group of young minds.

Sounds cool, what does it involve?

We would love you to come along and meet our brainees, give a short talk or show us around your workspace or project. Whether you have a whole week or just a couple of hours to spare we would love to hear from you.

What's in it
for me?

Regeneration Brainery is an educational programme, so you would be doing your bit to teach and inspire the next generation of property leaders.

A key aim of this programme is to encourage everyone (and we mean everyone!) to get involved. We think a more diverse industry is a better one, please get involved if you agree.

Past Mentors

Here are some of the mentors that have been involved in our 2018 programme. Proof that not all heroes wear capes!

  • Tom Bloxham

    Co-Founder of Urban Splash/Property Development

    "Tom sold fire extinguishers door to door, studied a degree in politics, and ran a market stall down Affleck's Arcade. He made more money sub-letting the space than selling his posters. That's how it started

    As well as steering Urban Splash through the many ups and recent downs of business, Tom chairs the Manchester International Festival and is a trustee of The Tate, Manchester United Foundation and is also Chancellor of The University of Manchester. Tom was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and urban regeneration in 1999."


  • Adam Higgins

    Co-Founder of Capital & Centric/Property Development

    "Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric has delivered in excess of 1,000,000 sq ft of development over the last 20 years ranging from office space, leisure schemes and boutique hotels in Grade II Listed formerly derelict buildings.

    Adam has a history of working closely with local authority partners notably with Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester"


  • Will Lewis

    Director of OBI Property

    "Will is a founding director of OBI Property, which he set up alongside two colleagues in 2010. He specialises in advising landlords and occupiers as part of OBI’s Transactions and Asset Management Team.

    Working for a number of property companies, Will and his team have devised a range of tailored disposal strategies that have proved successful, helping clients to let or sell their buildings successfully, advising on some of the largest deals in Manchester in recent years.

    He also advises a variety of occupier clients on a national basis and has a strong track record for delivering successful business relocations. Occupier clients include, Zuto, NCC Group and"


  • Lynda Shillaw

    Divisional Chief Executive / Property at Manchester Airport

    "Lynda Shillaw works with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) as Divisional Chief Executive Officer for Property.

    Lynda was responsible for the landmark visit of President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister David Cameron to Airport City and Manchester Airport, successfully launching the £130m China Cluster developments, along with a new direct route to Beijing.

    Graduating in 1986 with a degree in Accountancy and Finance, Lynda has had a strong 20+ year career in the property industry, where she has headed Co-operative Estates plus roles at Lloyds Banking Group and BT where she worked for 18 years."


  • Eamonn Boylan

    Chief Executive at Stockport Council

    "Eamonn Boylan was appointed Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in January 2017. He played a key role in the development of the Housing Market Renewal Programme, the Northern Way Growth Strategy and, through his work with the Core Cities Group and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, in the emerging policy framework for city regions.

    Eamonn takes the lead role on Investment and on Planning and Housing for the AGMA Wider Leadership Team."


  • Chithra Marsh

    Associate Director at Buttress

    "From being a wide eyed architectural student in the mid 80s I’ve really experienced the full gambit that the life of an Architect throws at you.

    I love the art of design but there is so much more to this amazingly versatile career. As well, as taking charge and nurturing the Manchester studio for Saunders, I get to work on a diverse range of projects.

    I’m already very lucky in that I get to share my knowledge and experience, raising awareness with young people, as a proud Ambassador and member of the Advisory Board for an inspiring social enterprise called PLACED, as an Education Roadshow Co-ordinator on the Women in Property NW Committee and as a member of the RIBA NW Practice Committee."


  • Will Ainscough

    Executive Chairman of Wain Group

    "Will Ainscough is the Executive Chairman of Wain Group, a large regional housebuilder, and of HIMOR Group, a land and property company that specialises in regeneration. One of HIMOR’s flagship schemes is the regeneration of the former Shell refinery at Carrington. The 1,660 acre scheme has the ability to deliver over 7,000 new homes and 8 million sq. ft. of commercial space.

    Will is a fully qualified Chartered Surveyor and previously worked at Healey & Baker Investment Managers. He enjoys being around bricks and mortar, but his real passion for the industry is in the land."


  • Julie Twist

    Founder of Julie Twist Properties

    "Julie Twist Properties is the longest established agent in Manchester City Centre now approaching 23 years specialising in the Manchester property market.

    Julie's property career started whilst working with Solicitors in Manchester; after seeing the need for an Estate Agent at the age of 23 Julie ventured out to open offices in the centre of Manchester and spire headed the property market. Amazed by the reaction and support from developers and property owners alike the business boomed with no other agent servicing the City for the following 3 years."


  • Monica Brij

    Partner at Nabarro LLP

    "Monica is currently a partner at the law firm, Nabarro LLP. She was one of the founding partners of the Manchester office, which opened in May 2015. The practice has grown from strength to strength and now boasts a full “built environment” legal team that is highly regarded in the market.

    Monica specialises in complex real estate projects: so buying, selling and developing property. Monica works with a mix of institutional investors, developers, local authorities, banks and charities. Some of her more well known city centre projects are First Street (which has seen the opening of Manchester’s most recent theatre, Home) and the sale of the Co-operative HQ building. Her favourite property purchase was acquiring Blackpool Tower on behalf of Blackpool Council."


  • Katie Wray

    Assistant Director at Deloitte

    "Katie is an Assistant Director at Deloitte. She is a town planner specialising in heritage and large scale regeneration, most recently Mayfield. Katie joined Deloitte in 2015.

    Prior to this she worked for The Co-operative Group as a planner, managing and advising on their non-trading portfolio across the country, including London, and 20 acre head office regeneration scheme, NOMA.

    Katie is passionate about engaging with more people in the built environment and encouraging cross-professional working. She is past Chair of the NW Branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Events Co-ordinator for the Institute of Historic Building Conservation."


  • Michelle Richardson

    Operations Director at MAPM

    "Michelle is the Operations Director at Manchester & Cheshire Construction Co. Ltd, and the first female board member of the company. Michelle joined the business in March 2017 after having worked as a Project Manager for three construction and property consultants.

    Having had a life long love of construction, which was inspired by her dad who is a builder specialising in stone masonry, Michelle studied Architecture at university before realising that her talents were more suited to a career in Project Management and so went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management. However, her degree in Architecture gives her an excellent understanding of the design process."


  • Pat Bartoli

    Head of City Centre Regeneration Team

    In 2007, Patricia became Head of the City Centre Regeneration Team, which drives the ongoing growth and regeneration of the city centre.

    The team work with key stakeholders to deliver the major objectives of supporting investment, creating employment, and providing the right local environment and infrastructure in order to advance the future economic and social prosperity of the city and wider City-region.

  • Elaine Cresswell

    Director of reShaped Landscape Architects

    "Elaine is director of reShaped and landscape architect with 17 years experience delivering regeneration projects on the ground. She particularly specialises in integrating complex public realm projects into sensitive sites such as Merthyr Tydfil pedestrianisation, Wakefield Merchantgate and, Little Clarenden Street for Oxford University.

    She is currently on the design review panel for Cheshire West and Chester and BRE Ecology working group."

  • Caroline Baker

    Development and Planning

    Caroline Baker is a Partner in Cushman & Wakefield’s Manchester office and last year celebrated working for C&W/DTZ in Manchester for 20 years!

    She advises a range of clients in the North West, on all aspects of development issues ranging in scale from sub-regional to site specific. Caroline’s strength lies in her ability to draw upon the market advice provided from C&W’s property sector specialists and incorporate this into strategies that support development.

    Recent projects include supporting the establishment of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone and Preston City Council and partners to stimulate residential development through the preparation of a City Living Prospectus.

  • Atul Bansal

    Interior Designer

    Atul has been running the interior design company Sheila Bird Group for 23 years, helping companies to relocate and re-brand their image. Sheila Bird Group is a chance to do things differently; a desire to change, improve, inspire and reward.

  • Wes Erlam

    Director of Development - Morgan Sindall Investments ...

    Wes is a chartered surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in property acquisition, planning and development. He joined the Morgan Sindall Investments Board in 2018 to lead on all development activity within the Public Private Partnership environment, delivering complex multi-phased mixed tenure projects and delivering the business strategy to ensure returns for both client, sister companies and MSIL. Wes is responsible for the development pipeline of the Morgan Sindall partnerships in Slough, Bournemouth, Oxleas, Burton and Hub West Scotland.

  • Ian Stringer

    Mentor Job

    Until May 2018, Ian was Regional Senior Director of GVA in the Midlands, overseeing 17 out of the firm’s 24
    business units represented out of the Midlands office and a total staff compliment of 385 people. He is a past
    chairman of the firm’s Advisory Board, currently a member of the firm’s Executive Board and a West Midlands
    CBI Regional Councillor.

  • Waheed Nazir

    Corporate Director for Economy at Birmingham City Council

    Waheed held senior positions at the City for just over 15 years. During this time he has established Birmingham as one of the UK’s top destinations for investment with an ambitious growth agenda.

    In his role as Corporate Director Waheed is responsible for a wide portfolio that covers property, planning, housing development, employment & skills, business & enterprise and transport infrastructure.

  • Ross Fittall

    Project Director at Argent LLP

    Ross is a key member of the Argent Birmingham office team delivering the £700m Paradise redevelopment. Ross has 15 years’ experience in the property development, construction and leisure sectors, having worked both as a client and consultant as a project manager on a number of large, complex mixed use schemes. He has taken these sites from conception, through planning, design and construction to handover. Ross has extensive experience in managing assets, working closely with consultants, contractors, occupiers and other stakeholders at all stages of a project.

  • Martin Reeves

    Chief Executive at Coventry City Council

    Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He was the Chief Executive and the Head of Paid Service of the West Midlands Combined Authority March 2016 to September 2017. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

  • Shauna Bradley

    Project Architect at Glenn Howells

    Shauna joined Glenn Howells Architect's Birmingham office in 2010 as an Architectural Assistant, becoming a Senior Architect in 2016. She studied at Queen's University Belfast and Birmingham City University's School of Architecture and Design. Shauna has extensive masterplanning and urban design experience and has played a key role on a number of large-scale projects in various sectors.

  • Anna Parsons

    Director of Urban Design, Masterplanning, Planning & Regeneration

    Anna is Director of Savills Urban Design. Her CV includes work in both the public and private sector, specialising in master planning, urban design, project coordination and public consultation.

  • Deborah Cadman

    Chief Executive at West Midlands Combined Authority

    Deborah became Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority in September 2017, following a long and distinguished career in public service.
    After gaining a degree in politics, she began her career in 1984 with the London Borough of Newham, before moving to Birmingham City Council where she worked on major regeneration projects and gained a master’s degree in economics.

  • Maria Machancoses

    Director at Midlands Connect

    Maria is the founding Director of Midlands Connect - one of the largest and most successful partnership programmes in the country.

    In her role she plays a leading role in transforming transport connectivity across the Midlands, working with business leaders and local government across the Midlands, transforming the way regions work with national agencies like Highways England, Network Rail, HS2 and the Department for Transport

  • Phil Twiss

    Design Director at Gensler

    With extensive experience in residential and commercial architecture and interiors Philip serves as Design Director and is part of the leadership team in Gensler’s Birmingham Studio.

    His approach to design achieves high quality architectural solutions which embody simplicity, attention to detail and intelligent use of materials. Phil led the design of the Illumina Centre, a new European headquarters for the world’s leader in genomic sequencing, and developed the concept for the amenity building on the same campus as well as several large scale residential schemes.

  • Bob Ghosh

    Director at K4 Architects

    Bob Ghosh is an Architect whose company K4 is based in Digbeth, Birmingham. He has been in practice since 1990 and has worked on a number of high profile projects in and around the city.

    Bob has a passion for historic buildings and is currently restoring some 300 year old buildings in rural Herefordshire. Apart from heading-up K4, Bob is also the Chair of an art gallery in Digbeth called Eastside Projects, and external examiner for the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and is involved in not-for-profit community initiatives related to urban agriculture and food skills.

Becoming a Mentor

Got any questions? Some concerns?

Want to sign up? Drop us a line on:

Becoming a Trustee

We are also looking for new Trustees to enable and create the next academies.

Interested? Drop us a line

 Take the leap