Skip to content

Doncaster, What's Next Conference?

Wednesday 5th June 2024

Doncaster Whats Next Header 2024

Join us for one of the most inspiring events in Doncaster! Connect with over 200 businesses at The Legacy Centre for a dynamic discussion on the future of Doncaster!

Engage in thought-provoking panels and interactive Q&A sessions, exploring the exciting prospects ahead for our city.

Experience the honesty, openness, and plethora of revolutionary business ideas that emerge from the remarkable projects and opportunities which will be happening right on our doorstep.

Stay tuned for the outcomes and actionable steps derived from these discussions, and dive into the responsible business insights shared by attendees and their visionary perspectives on shaping Doncaster's future!




*timings subject to change

8am: Breakfast Networking

9am: Introduction from Tariq Shah OBE

Welcome from Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber

Panel 1: What’s Next: City Centre

Panel 2: What’s Next: Responsible Business

10:35am: Break

Panel 3: What’s Next: Key Doncaster Projects

12:15pm: Lunch

Keynote speech: Lord Kirkham KCVO, Founder of DFS and Member of House of Lords

In conversation with Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber & Ros Jones CBE Mayor of Doncaster City of Doncaster Council

2pm: Close from Tariq Shah OBE

The Doncaster, What's Next? Business Conference will return on the 5th June 2024. Mark your calendars!

Doncaster, What's Next? Business Conference Host

Tariq Shah

Tariq Shah
Chief Executive Officer
Vigo Group

Tariq Shah OBE, a Doncaster native, heads Vigo Group, a thriving family business spanning Yorkshire and London. Renowned for his leadership in community development, he spearheads regeneration projects and champions social causes. Since 2006, Tariq has actively enhanced Doncaster, leading initiatives like the Town Deal Board and supporting the city status bid. Balancing business prowess with social responsibility, he backs charities such as the Prince’s Trust and the Sleep Charity. Recently awarded for his philanthropic efforts in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee honors, Tariq advocates for South Yorkshire's welfare, believing in local engagement to tackle societal issues. Through his endeavors in business and philanthropy, he strives to enact positive change in his community.



What's Next: City Centre

Fabian Braithwaite DA2A8348 copy


Fabian Braithwaite
Owner and Managing Partner
HSR Law Solicitors

Fabian is the Managing Partner of HSR LAW. Fabian qualified as an attorney in the United States where he practiced for 7 years before qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales.
Fabian is President of Doncaster Chamber and a big advocate for Doncaster businesses and creating a thriving city centre. He has worked in Doncaster for 20 years.

HSR law logo

Ian Proffitt
Chief Superintendent
South Yorkshire Police

Chief Superintendent Ian Proffitt has been the Doncaster District Commander since 2021. He has been with South Yorkshire Police since 1998 and in that time he has worked in a number of investigative roles such as District CID, Intelligence, Major Crime and Proactive Policing. He has led local neighbourhood teams, as well as Fortify and Safer Neighbourhood Services in both Rotherham and Sheffield, and is also a trained Tactical Firearms Commander. Chief Supt Proffitt was previously Head of Operations in Specialist Crime Services before moving into his current role as Doncaster District Commander.


south yorkshire logo

Damian Allen
Chief Executive
Doncaster Council

Damian, Doncaster Council's current CEO, previously held roles as the statutory Chief Officer for Children and Adults. He played a key role in establishing the 'Doncaster Climate Change & Biodiversity Commission' and has been driving regenerative initiatives since 2019. Under his leadership, Doncaster aims to become the UK's inaugural 'Regenerative Council', collaborating with partners such as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Damian's diverse background in education management has also seen him advise governments globally on education, youth, and children's services.

Doncaster Council
me profle pic

 Jackie Bailey
Founder and CEO
Mason Arms and Rum Rooms Group

Jackie Bailey is a visionary entrepreneur and founder and CEO of the Masons Arms and Rum Rooms Group. Her journey began with the historic Masons Arms, the oldest pub nestled in the heart of the City Centre. Shortly after, embarked on the expansion, introducing a specialised Rum Bar and vibrant live music venue, setting a new standard for hospitality in the area.
Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, Jackie's passion lies in the revitalisation of both commercial and residential spaces. She is inspired by re-development projects with innovative refurbishments and the creation of eclectic venues. A champion of diversity and empowerment, Jackie plays a pivotal role in fostering a dynamic and inclusive environment within her businesses. Drawing from her background in teaching, she is committed to nurturing a confident and diverse team, understanding the power of education and mentorship.

Rum Rooms Grup

What's Next: Responsible Business 

Pix: Shaun Flannery/

COPYRIGHT PICTURE>>SHAUN FLANNERY>01302-570814>>07778315553>>

5th April 2022

Signum Facilities Management Ltd


Jill Wood
Managing Director
Signum Facilities Management

Jill Wood is Managing Director of Doncaster-based Signum Facilities Management; an award-winning business which specialises in managing and delivering building maintenance. A keen ambassador for the business community, Jill is also a Past President of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce (having held the prestigious role for the 2020-2021 term) and a champion for Women in Business, playing a pivotal role in the Doncaster 7 Ladies Circle.

Today, Jill remains a director at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and campaigns for Women in STEM. Additionally, Jill is a director at Exceed Learning Partnership, a Multi-Academy Trust based in Doncaster cementing her passion for improving the life chances of young people and their families in the region.

Michele Beck

Michéle Beck
Chief Executive Officer
Doncaster Housing for Young People

Michèle, a Doncaster native, has been in the 'not-for-profit' sector since 2017, driven by her passion for community support. With a background in education and mental health, she now aids homeless or inadequately housed youth aged 16-25. Additionally, as the founder of Writing for Wellness CIC, she champions alternative therapies for mental health. In her free time, she leads community Writing for Wellness sessions and actively engages as a football mom and committee member at Sandall Beat Junior Football Club, alongside caring for her 10-year-old son.

Untitled design (5)

Trudie McCormick
Group Technical Development Director

Trudie leads her team in the design of low carbon homes and guidance to promote the principles of ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ in the delivery of sustainable developments.

As a former Eco Homes / Code for Sustainable Homes assessor Trudie has been committed throughout her career to the continued evolution of low carbon and digital design processes embracing the principles of design for manufacture and on-site assembly techniques to improve efficiency, quality, and performance in use with a focus on achieving reduced running and maintenance costs to address fuel poverty.


Amelia Banful
Head of Business Strategy
Enviro Electronics

Amelia is the Head of Business Strategy at Enviro Electronics, an organisation committed to sustainable recycling, and she has led the business to win numerous awards. She has over 20 years experience in project management and has operated in various fields including health and construction. Amelia is also a qualified Change Practitioner and specialises in helping organisations to effectively assess and mitigate against the possible impacts of change.
Outside work, Amelia works with a number of organisations to mentor young people, providing purpose and helping them to become a positive influence in society. She is a member of the Doncaster UTC Employer Advisory Committee and is part of the leadership team for Father's Heart Centre, a church in Birmingham. Amelia is also very passionate about working with women so they feel empowered to achieve their ambitions in life.


What's Next: Key Doncaster Projects

Mike Wilkinson


Mike Wilkinson
Managing Director

Michael is the UK Managing Director of ClickView, an award-winning video platform, trusted by over 6000 schools and colleges..

In 2006, Michael founded i-education, best known as creators of the pioneering games based learning company ‘I am learning’. In the 6 years of running the company, I am learning provided engaging learning and assessment to over 12,000 schools around the world.

In 2012, Frog Education acquired i-education and Michael became Deputy Managing Director of the multi-award winning global educational technology company, transforming learning on a system wide level for over 12 million users across 24 countries.

Since 2014, Michael has been a non-exec director of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, including serving as president 2018-2020. He was also the chair of the British Chamber of Commerce Northern Regional Assembly 2019-2021.

Michael is also a Member of two Multi Academy Trusts, Brighter Futures Learning Partnership and XP Trust.

Mark Headshot

Mark Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
Automated Analytics


Mark Taylor, CEO of Automated Analytics, leads a pioneering British firm that employs AI to revolutionise global businesses. Their technology enables data interpretation, real-time analysis, and optimisation of campaigns, serving over 4,000 clients worldwide since 2013. With extensive experience in senior marketing roles, Mark conceived Automated Analytics during a 2013 conference and actively supports Barnardo's Children's Charity outside of work.

automated analytics
Andy Offer, 2Excel Aviation

Andy Offer
Director and Co-Founder
2Excel Aviation

Andy Offer, ex-RAF fast jet pilot, co-founded 2Excel Aviation in 2005, pioneering The Blades, the world’s sole aerobatic airline, and launching 2Excel’s air charter services. He now focuses on commercial business development in aviation and aerospace, spanning defense, security, engineering, and disaster response. With 22 years in the RAF, he led a Harrier squadron and piloted the Red Arrows (1999-2001), earning an OBE.

John Clements, Verdion

John Clements 
Executive Director

John Clements is an Executive Director at Verdion Group Ltd and one of the founding partners of the company which was established in 2010. He has over 20 years’ experience in the commercial property sector, the majority of which has been focused on industrial and logistics, investment and development. John is responsible for overseeing the company’s development activities in the UK and other European markets. His role includes management of iPort Doncaster, Verdion’s flagship UK project, and one of the most significant logistics parks in the UK.
John holds a BSc from Exeter University, an MSc from Reading University and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


In Conversation

dan fell

Dan Fell
Chief Executive Officer
Doncaster Chamber of Commerce

Having been in the organisation for 18 years, Dan Fell became the Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber in 2015, making him the youngest-ever Chamber CEO at the time.

In the intervening years, he has done a lot of incredible work to help put Doncaster on the map. Among other things, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Doncaster UTC, helped get the Great Yorkshire Way built, led the successful bid for Doncaster City Status and has been a prominent voice in the fight to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA). Under his leadership, the chamber even went on to earn the distinction of being named Chamber of the Year in 2019.

In his role, Dan works collegiately with partners, helps to amplify the voice of local firms, and advocates for the growth and development of the local business community, whom he represents on a national stage.

Doncaster Chamber logo
Ros Jones

  Ros Jones CBE
Mayor of Doncaster
City of Doncaster Council

Ros Jones has been Mayor of Doncaster since 2013, having been elected for a third term in 2021.
A lifelong Doncaster resident and qualified Chartered Public Finance Accountant, Ros worked in both the public and private sector during her career before being elected as a borough Councillor in 2006, and becoming Chair of Council and Chair of Audit. Ros is currently a member of both the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and is co-chair of the South Yorkshire Business Recovery and Growth board. Since becoming elected Mayor, Ros has led Doncaster Council out of Government intervention early, and introduced wide ranging improvements, including successful policies to support the local economy, job creation, public and private sector housing developments, and education improvements. In 2017 Ros was awarded a CBE for services to Local Government. When standing for re-election in 2021, she pledged to lead Doncaster with its recovery from Coronavirus, to create a safer, stronger, cleaner and greener Doncaster, where no one is left behind. Doncaster is on a journey. Once the home of the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman and the base of the Vulcan bomber, the borough is now the home of Hitachi Rail, fitting our Azuma trains, and to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is one of the UK’s biggest and best visitor attractions.

Doncaster Council

Keynote Speaker

Kirkham Thumbnail

Lord Kirkham KCVO
Founder of DFS and Member of House of Lords

Truly self-made, Lord Kirkham created his fortune with shrewd business acumen and a keen understanding of the market. At the age of 25, he rented a room above a snooker hall in Carcroft and used it to produce high quality furniture that, in turn, was sold directly to the public at fiercely competitive prices. From these humble beginnings, the company — known then as Northern Upholstery — eventually became the retail giant DFS.

Lord Kirkham’s notable achievements don’t stop there either, as he was also a director & major shareholder in the Iceland supermarket chain, a long-serving chair of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a celebrated philanthropist working for and supporting many other charities, and an active member of The House of Lords.


Thank you to our hosts, speakers and panel guests.

Mark your calendars for #DWN2024!

Doncaster, What's Next Business Conference will be back on the 5th of June 2024.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic morning here at Legacy Centre. We are very fortunate to have an […] excellent Chamber that has put on a huge event today.”

Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley.

“The highlight for me has to be, being able to sit and listen to Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE. That opportunity is few and far between. And for her, to take the time out, to speak to the audience in Doncaster I thought was a real privilege.”

Mark Peebles, Chief Commercial Officer at Harrison College.

“It was fantastic! The energy in the room was unbelievable. I think that what I took away [from the event] the most was optimism, collaboration, and just [to be] down to earth and speak to each other to get more business into Doncaster.”

Ian Selby, Head of Sales and Commercial Development at LNER.

“I think the panel with the business directors and CEOs was really interesting, just getting their take because obviously, they’re on the face of what’s going on in Doncaster. So it was really interesting to hear some of their opinions and views on how we can make Doncaster better. And, get more people to invest.”

Di Mellis, Centre Manager at Lakeside Village.

“What makes this conference different is that it focuses very specifically on Doncaster and you get to meet and network with all other local Doncaster businesses which is always a great opportunity to talk about local issues.”

Jim Carley, Managing Director at Carley Consult Ltd.

“I’m really mostly interested in finding out what the plans are for Doncaster and how Doncaster is going to help businesses like mine grow.”

Jon Duffy, CEO of Clean Power Hydrogen.


“What I think is great to see today is the depth of businesses that are coming out. Small through to large. And actually the passion, there’s a real buzz around the conference and the passion to drive the City forward.”

Mark Burley, Regional Social Value and Partnerships Manager at Keepmoat Homes.

“It’s been really good to hear from a wide range of partners, and hear from some new voices and to me, a number of potential partners.”

John Rees, CEO of DN Colleges Group.


2023 Gallery

Learn More

Scroll To Top