Some of the biggest names in business shared their secrets of how to make progress at an exclusive event.

‘How to PROGRESS in business’ was hosted at KPMG’s offices in St Peter’s Square in Manchester.

The event was organised by Proactive Progress, a new monthly business group for ambitious companies in the North West.

The co-founders are Chris Maguire, executive editor of BusinessCloud and TechBlast, and award-winning entrepreneur Paul Woods, managing director of Proactive Despatch.

The event tackled some of issues that can stop people progressing in their careers, like imposter syndrome and communicating under pressure.

Garry Partington, CEO of Apadmi, told the 85-strong audience how he was so fed up of the agency being described as ‘Manchester’s best kept secret’ that he launched a plan to transform Apadmi into a global brand with 1,500 staff in just five years.

Beckie Taylor launched Tech Returners to help professionals looking to re-enter the workplace in the tech sector after a career break and earlier this year it was bought by Northcoders for £1.5m.

Taylor said she’s always been candid about her vulnerability and has spoken openly about her nine-year IVF journey.

Former hostage negotiator Nigel Taberner, MD of Level2Communications, shared his secrets of how to communicate in a crisis.

Isobelle Panton. Chris Townsend, Alexandra Hatchman at Proactive Progress

Isobelle Panton, Chris Townsend and Alexandra Hatchman

Isobelle Panton is the director of student recruitment and international at UA92, which was founded by Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

UA92 targets potential students at youth zones, mosques, grassroots football and barbers.

Panton is also the co-owner of a gym in Rossendale and said her ambition was to become a CEO.

Chris Townsend is the MD of What Media and specialises in video content. He said a piece of software called ABC – which stands for Automated Brand Conversation – was attracting a lot of interest as it allows clients to mass produce videos in a timely and cost effective manner.

Alexandra Hatchman is the CEO of Napthens, having previously held senior roles at the Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Accenture and Coles.

Hatchman said: “My mantra is to lead people with a wise head, with a kind heart and with strong backbone and use them in that order. You only use strength if you need to. But if you use wisdom first and then kindness second, that will take you an awfully long way.”

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The other speakers were Richard Stark, director, corporate finance, KPMG and Laura Sisson, investment manager at YFM.

·      For more details about Proactive Progress email Paul Woods [email protected]