Advisory Board

The International Business Division works closely with organisations linked to international business and trade. Our advisory board's members advise and inform on current practitioner issues in the world of international business.

Hugh Cawley

Group Finance Director, Office 2 Office PLC

Hugh is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and has over 30 years’ experience in the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors, including senior roles at Procter & Gamble, Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, S Daniels PLC and Dawson Holdings PLC. In all of these roles, he has consistently played a key part in driving performance improvements through increased efficiency, restructuring and strategic change. 

Hugh Cawley
Etta Cohen

Founder, Forward Ladies

Etta Cohen set up Forward Ladies in 2000 in response to the Government’s focus on encouraging women to be more enterprising.  The organisation has grown throughout the UK and now engages with 14000+ professional women.

Forward Ladies manages more than 350 events a year for its members  including an inspirational speaker programme, conferences, Women in Business Awards,  training and development workshops, trade missions, mentoring and social networking events. It has been involved in government consultations and invited senior politicians to speak.

Prior to setting up Forward Ladies, Etta was a manager with Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber. She is currently an advisory Board member for the Yorkshire Asian Business Association with responsibility for women and equality and was a magistrate on the Leeds Bench for 15 years.

Etta Cohen
Joanna Lavan

Director, Alfran Ltd - international business consultancy specialising in creating global opportunities. 
Managing Director, ConnectChina Ltd - international business consultancy specialising in China & Hong Kong.
Immediate past Vice-Chairman, The 48 Group Club
Visiting Fellow, Leeds University Business School

Over 20 years of international business development expertise in China, Central & Eastern European markets and Middle East. Writer and trainer of international training courses.

Joanna Lavan
Andrew Palmer

Director (Yorkshire and the Humber), Confederation of British Industries (CBI)

With offices across the UK as well as in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI is the voice of British businesses in the UK and around the world.

Andrew was appointed CBI Regional Director for Yorkshire & the Humber in 2008. His work with the CBI involves Andrew having a wide understanding of all issues confronting business today and through his job he has developed a detailed knowledge of a wide range of companies and also the region.

Andrew is a graduate of Sheffield University and has had a varied career. He worked as a bio-medical scientist for the National Blood Authority and as business reporter for the Yorkshire Post.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Bio-Medical Scientists.

Andrew Palmer
Mark Robson

Regional Director (Yorkshire and the Humber), UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)

Mark Robson is Regional Director for UK Trade & Investment in the Yorkshire & Humber region. He is responsible for helping the region’s firms to identify and take advantage of business opportunities overseas.

Prior to joining UK Trade & Investment, Mark worked as international strategy manager for Yorkshire Forward (RDA) and as International Trade Advisor at Business Link Humberside. He has held a number of other positions in the public and private sector in the UK and overseas.

Mark has an MBA from the University of Durham Business School and an MA in Economics amongst other academic and business qualifications.

Mark Robson
Kevin Shakespeare

Director of Education and Special Projects, Institute of Export and International Trade
Managing Director, Shakespeare Business Management Ltd

Kevin Shakespeare has been involved in the world of trade, from a young age of just 17 working in a small business, to joining National Westminster Bank, The Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, carrying out a variety of roles in senior positions covering the world of trade and dealing with businesses of all sizes. In the last 10 years Kevin has worked with The Institute of Export and International Trade as an Examiner and member of their Professional Qualifications Education Board.

Kevin runs his own business, Shakespeare Business Management, and sits on several committees and boards involved in directing the world of business, trade and education.

Kevin Shakespeare