The Educate North Awards Academic Advisory panel is led by Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE and Professor Phil Harris.

All judges are invited to participate as independent assessors. The awards will be judged by a number of leading industry experts and professionals. 

Ruth Ashford

Professor, University of Chester |

Professor Ruth Ashford has more than 25 years’ experience in Higher Education management within post-92 Business Schools – previously as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Executive Dean at University of Chester Business and Management Faculty.  She has a wealth of experience in developing UK and international business and management programmes, leading and managing small and large complex business schools.

As the former Chief Examiner of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Professor Ashford was involved with the International launch of the CIM Student Chapter and CIM Professional undergraduate and postgraduate new syllabus in 90 countries, and was also the prime-mover behind the UK National Foundation Degree in Retailing.  Ruth is also the former Chair of the Academy of Marketing, which is the international learned society for Marketing academics. As a Senator with the Chartered Management Institute; as a Board Member of the Association of Business Schools, and working with other stakeholders, she promotes the voice of diversity within business schools nationally.

With research interests in management competencies and the positioning of UK business schools, Ruth was selected to work on the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education review panel for the UK benchmark standards in the teaching of Business and Management for both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in 2015. 

Professor Paul Baines

Professor of Political Marketing and Associate Dean at the University of Leicester |

Paul Baines is Professor of Political Marketing and Associate Dean (External Relations) at the University of Leicester, and Visiting Professor, Cranfield University. Paul has delivered undergraduate, postgraduate and executive courses and classes in universities around the world, including in USA, Canada, Malaysia, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Holland, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. He is a Fellow of the Market Research Society (MRS) and the Institute of Directors.

For over two decades, Paul’s research has particularly focused on political marketing, public opinion, and propaganda. He has co-written and co-edited 20 books on marketing topics, including the best-selling Marketing now in its 5th edition with Oxford University Press. Paul’s consultancy work includes experience working with government departments on strategic communication research projects, as well as with many small, medium, and large private enterprises, including Glassolutions Saint-Gobain, IBM, 3M, and many more. Paul is a regular commentator in both the press and broadcast media on political marketing topics. He is director of Baines Associates Limited, a strategic marketing/research consultancy and a non-executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute, a professional body for organizational resilience executives. 

Katie Bray

Head of Projects and Events, North West Business Leadership Team |

Katie Bray, a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, works for the North West Business Leadership Team as Head of Projects and Events.  As part of this role she has been working with the NWBLT’s Education and Skills Group who have been focussing on sharing best practice across the region.   Prior to this Katie ran her own management consultancy for 15 years which had a variety of clients from across all sectors including large and small companies, universities and charities.  Katie has a particular interest in gender equality within business and has recently been working on a project to see what can be done to encourage more women into boardrooms in the North West Region.

Keith Burnley

Director, K & M Burnley Associates |

Keith Burnley is a higher education consultant specialising in the entrepreneurial university, third mission activities, governance and organisational change.  Keith was CEO of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education from 2013 to June 2016 with overall responsibility for all of NCEE’s programmes, including those relating to the Entrepreneurial University concept, enterprise education and graduate start-ups.  He led the formation of strategic links with Chinese partners and still supports NCEE as a consultant Special Adviser (China). 

Keith has worked at the interface between higher education and its stakeholders for over twenty years.  He established the City and Regional Office at the University of Leeds and the North West Universities Association.  Before that he worked as a scientist in the Textile and Electricity Supply Industries.  His experience of the sector includes engagement with local and national government at all levels, business and community links, widening participation, validation, links with Further Education and Schools, Knowledge Transfer and European Structural Funds.  Keith also has significant experience of management within and outside of the HE Sector and a keen interest in the role of ‘place’ in the development of the entrepreneurial university, including the link with the ‘Anchor Institution’ concept.


Keith Crane

Research and Insight Director, Communicorp UK |

Keith Crane is the Research & Insight Director for Communicorp UK. As part of this role he runs an MRS Certified Company Partner bespoke Market Research agency, with particular focus on customer engagement, UX research and marketing strategy / creative execution research. With 15 years’ experience in insight, market research and strategic marketing. Qualified to CMRS level, and a member of the MRS Steering Committee.

Working with a variety of HE & FE institutions across the UK, Keith’s main focus in these areas is around Student & Local Engagement, Recruitment, Employee/Stakeholder research and Alumni Engagement; all with the ultimate aim of providing Universities & Colleges with game-changing insight to enable more efficient marketing & communications strategies… thereby leading to improved results and performance across the board.

Dianne Dean

Reader in Marketing, Sheffield Hallam University |

Martin Doel CBE

Professor of Leadership in Further Education and Skills, University College London |

Martin Doel was appointed as the first Further Education Trust for Leadership Professor of Leadership in Further Education and Skills at University College London (Institute of Education) in April 2016 after having previously been the Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) from 2008.  Prior to this Martin served for 28 years in the Royal Air Force where his final appointment was as Director of Training and Education for all three Armed Services, working in the Ministry of Defence, the largest employer of apprentices in the UK.

He was appointed OBE in 1998 for his work in support of operations in the Balkans and for his contribution to Anglo-German relations and CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours for his contribution to education. He holds a Masters Degree with Distinction from King's College, London and a First Class Honours Degree in Education from King Alfred's College Winchester.  

Martin is a Trustee of the Royal London Society for the Blind and of The Challenge, a social integration charity delivering the National Citizen Service and a member of the Institute for Apprenticeships’ Audit and Risk Committee. He is also a Life-Vice President of the RAF Football Association and a qualified FA Coach.

Martin’s particular research interests at UCL (IOE) are concerned with the distinctive contribution that further education can make to national prosperity and individual well-being, and the leadership challenges facing further education providers of all kinds.

Professor Mike Jones


Following an early role as a professional classical musician, Mike’s industrial career spans both mainstream Personnel Management and corporate management development culminating into a career in University Business School academia.

Industrial appointments include two lengthy periods of Personnel Directorships, Consultancy with Price Waterhouse Coopers and as Group Management Development Manager of Pilkington Plc and Managing Director of its subsidiary leadership business, Lakeside Training and Development Ltd.

In more recent years, he was Director General of the Association of MBAs, the professional organisation for holders of the MBA degree. During his tenure, he designed and masterminded the quality accreditation service, which assess the quality of this degree at leading International Business Schools and trebled the individual membership across the world. Mike was also the Professor and Director of the Foundation for Management Education, an Educational Charity which instigated many initiatives for furthering the development of postgraduate business management education in UK Universities.

In semi-retirement, Mike continues to work in an advisory role within the International Business Schools community. His views on Management and Business Education are widely sought and he is a member of the Advisory Boards at a number of UK University Business Schools. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Chester and a Trustee of the Lubbock Trust at Balliol College Oxford. He holds a Doctorate of Business Administration, a Masters degree in Management and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Mike is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and a Freeman of the City of London. He is also a School Governor and a Regional Trustee of Age UK.

Married to Christine, a busy medic and with a grown up family -long gone, he lives on the Wirral.

Nicholas Miller

Chief Executive, the Bridge Group |

Nik is Chief Executive of the Bridge Group and a Partner at More Partnership. Prior to these appointments he worked in the USA, at the University of Warwick, and was most recently Head of Corporate and Alumni Relations at the University of York.

He has collaborated with multinational organisations to promote fairer access to the professions, including Google and Goldman Sachs. He has also recently been commissioned to lead significant programmes of research by the Cabinet Office, KPMG, the University of Oxford, the Wellcome Trust, the BBC, and Facebook.

Nik is an experienced fundraiser, and has secured millions of pounds from charities, businesses, and major philanthropists to support social mobility; he has spoken at international conferences and is regularly commissioned to write for leading publications.

He is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Research Committee, a trustee of the Unite Foundation, and a Research Associate and Fellow at the University of York. He achieved a First Class degree in English Literature at the University of York, completed his MBA (UCL) with distinction, and continued his research at the Cranfield School of Management as a full scholarship recipient.

John M. Mohin OBE


John Mohin was educated at the Blue Coat School in Liverpool, University of Central Lancashire, qualified as a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, later elevated to Fellow and studied strategic marketing at Harvard Business School.

During a thirty-five year career with Wedgwood, John Mohin held several key international positions including President of Wedgwood Japan and Managing Director of Waterford Wedgwood Australia where he received a commendation for his contribution to the Commonwealth of Australia and was duly granted citizenship, which is held jointly with the United Kingdom.

John is a Freeman of the City of London and serves as a Business Mentor for the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. He is an accomplished public speaker most recently addressing the issue of Commonwealth Trade.

John Mohin was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to the British Pottery Industry and made OBE for Services to Business and Charity in the North West of England.

Helen Nellist

Deputy CEO, Cheshire College, South & West |

Helen is the Deputy Principal and Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Cheshire College South and West with a focus on managing Apprenticeships, Employer Engagement, Partnerships, International Recruitment and Provision, Schools Liaison and Marketing/Communications, Estates and Health and Safety for the College.

Helen is also a Governor at Upton High School and a Director of the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber. Helen is also on the Board of Directors for Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS where she aims to actively contribute to addressing mental health issues in the benefit of the service users.

Dr Terry Peach

Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the University of Manchester |

Terry Peach has had 40 years’ experience of working in Higher Education both in the UK and China, and has taught at the Universities of Oxford (where he received his undergraduate and postgraduate education), Manchester, the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (Chengdu, China) and, more recently Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. His research interests are in the history of economic thought, including the history of ancient Chinese economic thought, and he is Chair of the UK History of Economic Thought Society. For several years he was involved with furthering the University of Manchester’s interests in China and was responsible for establishing scholarship programmes with the Chinese Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.

Lynn Rawlinson


Lynn has worked as a consultant, marketing specialist and general manager with extensive experience in the manufacturing, energy, charity and education sectors. She has professional qualifications in marketing, career profiling and counselling and holds Masters degrees in both management and history. She is also a published novelist. Her professional interests include the customer experience, market segmentation and product/service development.

Michael Thompson MA, FRSA

Education Advisor |

A mathematician by training, Michael has spent over 40 years working in state school secondary education.  His teaching and management experience spans across the comprehensive and the selective sector, with a brief period spent in Local Authority advisory service. For fifteen years Michael was headteacher of one of the country’s top performing schools.  In later years, he masterminded the design and build of a Pathfinder school.

With  a particular Interest in school environment and school improvement, Michael currently works as an independent adviser to schools and health service organisations.



Professor Phil Harris - Chair of the Judging Panel

Professor Phil Harris is Executive Director of the Business Research Institute at the University of Chester, was Dean of the Faculty of Business Entrepreneurship and Lifelong Learning, 2009-2014 and holds the Westminster Chair in Marketing and Public Affairs. Past Chairman of the Marketing Council (UK) PLC, Board member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Professor of Marketing at the University of Otago, New Zealand and Founding Director of the Centre for Corporate and Public Affairs at Manchester Metropolitan University. Prior to becoming an academic he held positions in the international chemical, and foods industries with ICI and RHM and has chaired or been a board member of the American Marketing Association, Academy of Marketing, and the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy.

Phil is regarded internationally as one of the founders of research and theory development in strategic public affairs management (lobbying), political marketing and economic and governmental communication. He has just completed two edited books the International Handbook of Corporate and Public Affairs with Craig Fleisher, Sage and Public Affairs and Lobbying in the EU Member States with Alberto Bitonti for Palgrave. His current focus is on China, entrepreneurship, family business, competitiveness, international trade and investment and doctoral student development. He is joint founding editor of the Journal of Public Affairs and a member of a number of international editorial and advisory boards and has written or published over 180 articles and papers and 20 books and is a regular media commentator. 



Sir Cary Cooper, CBE

Cary L. Cooper is the author and editor of more than 125 books and is one of Britain's most quoted business gurus.  He is The 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK.  He is the President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a founding President of the British Academy of Management, a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and one of only a few UK Fellows of the (American) Academy of Management, President of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and recently past President of RELATE.  He was the Founding Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, former Editor of the scholarly journal Stress and Health and is the Editor-in-Chief   of the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Management; now in its 3rd Edition.  He has been an advisor to the World Health Organisation, ILO, and EU in the field of occupational health research and wellbeing, was Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Chronic Disease of the World Economic Forum (2009-2010, and currently a member of the Global Agenda Council on mental health of the WEF) and is Immediate Past Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences (comprising 47 learned societies in the social sciences and 90,000members). He was awarded the CBE by the Queen in 2001 for his contributions to organizational health and safety; and in 2014 he was awarded a Knighthood for his contribution to the social sciences. 



Jim Keaton MBE

Professor Jim Keaton spent 22 years with ICI in the UK, Brasil, Hong Kong, China and Japanese was on the Organics Group Board and 14 Subsidiary Board. His 'retirement' has included non-executive Chairmanships and he continues as Pro Chancellor of Liverpool University, Regent of Liverpool Hope University and Regional Chair of the National Trust.



Peter Starbuck FCMI, FRICS, FCIOB, PhD

Peter Starbuck FCMI, FRICS, FCIOB, PhD, has been a manager for fifty years. He is a scholar of Peter F Drucker and was awarded a PhD from the Open University in 2007 for his thesis on the European Influences of Peter F Drucker. Founding Visiting Professor University Centre Shrewsbury. Visiting Professor University of Chester. Visiting Research Fellow to The Open University Business School. Researcher and Contributor on Management to the British Library, a joint venture with the Chartered Management Institute. Alma Mater: The Open University Business School. Peter has written extensively on Drucker in his own right as well as making contributions to other leading management books His thesis is the only one lodged with the British Library. He has collaborated with The Open University Business School to produce an interactive placing the spotlight on 60 management thinkers.