Organisation has transformed the city’s Baltic Triangle district into a thriving business hub and has appointed two new board members and a new chair. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s Baltic Creative Community Interest Company (CIC) has revealed a board reshuffle just weeks after announced plans to replicate its successful model elsewhere.
In just 10 years the organisation has transformed the city’s Baltic Triangle district from a collection of largely empty warehouses into a thriving business hub. It now manages 118,000 sq ft of space which is home to more than 180 businesses employing 600-plus people.Its success has been a catalyst for the growth of the entire district and now it is looking to expand into other areas of Merseyside.
Baltic Creative’s non-executive, voluntary board of directors, provide strategic advice on the company’s direction and oversees how the surplus funds it generates are reinvested into Liverpool’s digital, creative and technology sector.
It now welcomes two new board members – legal consultant, Karen Beddow and international development and co-working specialist, Esra Gönen – and has appointed Fiona Armstrong-Gibb as its new chair.
A driving force behind the growing co-working scene in her native Turkey, Esra is an entrepreneur with a focus on innovation. Her international expertise and influence will not only help Baltic Creative tenants to realise their growth potential overseas, but also spread the Liverpool success story abroad.
Baltic Creative is a member of the European Creative Hubs Network and of the 180-plus businesses based across its sites, more than 69% now trade internationally, with a significant number looking to start trading abroad in the near future.
Karen Beddow is a mix of trustee, lawyer and board member at Baltic Creative. Following 15 years as a full-time commercial litigation solicitor, Karen left this role to concentrate on her award-winning family travel blog and to spend more time with her three children.
Still operating as a legal consultant, she is also on the commercial board for city housing association, the Prima Group. Her legal expertise will be an “invaluable asset” to the Baltic Creative board.
Taking on the role as chair from Erika Rushton, Fiona Armstrong-Gibb has been on the Baltic Creative CIC board for 10 years. With more than 15 years of marketing and management experience working with international fashion brands and lecturing as far afield as La Salle College of Art and Design in Shanghai, Fiona is well placed to take the helm as Baltic Creative enters its next chapter.
As she transitions into the role of chair, Erika will stay on the board of directors as a support. Fiona said: “As our first decade in operation comes to a close, we are actively putting plans in place to help take the Baltic Creative brand to the next level through strategic growth. Karen and Esra will each play integral roles in this, helping to drive change and we are delighted to have them both on board as we begin to accelerate our ambitions into reality.”
Earlier in 2019, Jayne Casey, Bill Maynard, Anna Heyes, James France and Lynne Robertson stood down from their positions as Baltic Creative board members after collectively working 50 years for the CIC.
While James has fully retired, Jayne will continue at Baltic Creative in the role of president and Bill will be available as a mentor for managing director, Mark Lawler. Anna and Lynne will also both be available as sounding boards in their areas of expertise, marketing and communications and SMEs, respectively.
“Enabling diversity and inclusion is central to how we act as an employer. As such, we’ll be considering how future board members can bring expertise and greater diversity to the board to ensure the CIC meets the challenges ahead.”