Acorns Business Club Ambassadors

Acorns Ambassadors are playing a key role in raising awareness of our work within the business community and helping us raise the funds we need to continue providing lifeline care and support for local life limited and life threatened children and their families.

Each of Acorns Business Ambassadors joins us in a two-year partnership, adding their own voice and experience to help us raise awareness, campaign and fundraise, with each committing to raising £5,000 each year.

We are thrilled to have some of the region’s very best in business join us as Ambassadors. Their influence, passion and expertise will help us reach even more people within the business community and grow local support, making a massive difference to the children and families that need us now and in the future.

Who Are You?

Amy Deakin is a former Acorns employee and Channel Partnership Manager at Western Union Business Solutions. She said: “Having worked at Acorns previously and seeing the support provided to children with life limiting and life threatening conditions, as well as the wider support to their families, the value Acorns provides to the physical and emotional health of so many people can’t be underestimated. “Hopefully many will never need to lean upon the services of Acorns – but for those that do, showing Acorns as the fun, compassionate, and highly specialist support giver that it is and helping raise funds to enable the great work to continue is something I’m proud to do.”

Fun Fact

Amy did Bloukrans Bridge Bungy – one of the world’s highest commercial bridge bungies at 216 meters (709 ft) above the Bloukrans River in South Africa.

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Who Are You?

I’m Andy Dawson, a Co-Founder and Director at Curium Solution, a consultancy business based in Birmingham. I moved to Birmingham in 2004, and have felt part of the city, where my two boys have been raised,  ever since. I serve on the Council of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and also support the Heropreneurs charity.

Fun Fact

I discovered podcasts during the pandemic and enjoyed listening so much we decided to set up The Empowered podcast at Curium.

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Who Are You?

My name is Angel Gaskell and I am the Managing Director and co-founder of an independent content marketing agency, HDY. Situated in Digbeth, Birmingham’s buzzy creative quarter, HDY has just celebrated its third birthday and is made up of 35 awesome individuals.

When I’m not working, you can find me with my motorbike-obsessed husband and son and my cheerleader daughter. I’m passionate about being a female business owner, I support a number of LGBTQ+ initiatives and domestic abuse causes.

Fun Fact

As you may have guessed from my name, I was born and raised in a hippie commune where my parents instilled in me conscious living, peace and inner happiness.

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Who Are You?

Emma Neale is Associate Professor and Employability lead for Birmingham City University Business School. Emma lives in Sutton Coldfield with her husband and 17-year-old twin girls. Emma has worked in Education for 16 years but prior to teaching, worked in industry as a European Direct marketing Manager at Siemens and owned her own marketing consultancy business. Emma has been recognised for her achievements in education winning many awards and more recently being awarded, ‘I AM BCU’ Community Hero award in 2021.

“Having children myself, Acorns has always been close to my heart. I have always admired how Acorns provides a vital lifeline for families within our local community. The amazing team and volunteers go above and beyond, and the range of services Acorns offer is phenomenal. It really is inspiring to see the amazing work and support Acorns provides. I am honoured to be a Business Ambassador and I look forward to supporting Acorns and further enhancing the fantastic work they do.”

Fun Fact

I have been on TV four times, appearing in 1990’s daytime TV shows, ‘ Style Challenge’ and ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’, ‘A Date with Fate’ and an educational programme about non-smoking called ‘Love your Lungs’ – unfortunately my TV career was short lived but really fun!

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Who Are You?

Giles Rowley is the Brand Director for Rybrook Specialist Cars and has worked in the Motor Trade for over 30 years.  

Giles said: “I believe in making a positive difference so could not be more proud to be associated with such a deserving and worthy cause as Acorns Children’s Hospice.”

Fun Fact

I am a big James Blunt fan

Who Are You?

Jas Rohel is the CEO and founder of Education Awards and has been running her own business for five years. She said: “Acorns is very close to my heart. I feel we all should help in some way help provide care and support to life limited and life threatened children. I want to help to give the children and families some valued time together which is priceless.”

Fun Fact

I love eating raw ginger with most of my food.

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

II am Jessica Brabant, and I am the Regional Sales Manager for Park Regis Birmingham, looking after meetings, Conferences and Events within the hotel. I live in South Birmingham with my partner and little boy; George. I am an avid foodie, and love checking out Birmingham’s new restaurants and eateries.  I also love getting on my bike- with George in tow- and setting off on new adventures.

I have chosen to support Acorns, as I have always followed it closely throughout my life, after my Mum – who was a journalist – ran a two part special on it around 20 years ago for ITV News, and I spent some time there. What struck me immediately was the warmth of the hospice, and how the families were at the forefront of it all. It wasn’t a sad place- there was still laughter and happy, smiling faces, despite the heartbreak that these families were going through . When I was asked to represent Acorns as a business ambassador, I jumped at the chance, not only as a proud Brummie but also as a person who can talk very fondly about this wonderful charity.

Fun Fact

I spent my twenties sailing around the world selling art onboard cruise ships! I have seen the Northern Lights, sailed through the Arctic Circle and visited the Christ of the Redeemer in Rio- to name a few highlights!

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Who Are You?

Jo Morgan is the Ethics and Compliance Director at BT, based in their brand-new building in Snowhill in Birmingham. Jo is a lawyer and started her career with Pinsent Masons in Birmingham in 1997, and Birmingham has been her home ever since.  

Joanne said: “It is really important to me to be able to give back to this wonderful city and surrounding area and so I am grateful for the opportunity to become a Business Ambassador for Acorns. The work Acorns does is vitally important to the children and families that they support, and I am so proud to be part of that.”  

Fun Fact

For professional reasons, I have spent a lot of time in front of prosecutors and I have some lucky pants I wear when doing that work. I hope they will bring luck to Acorns too!

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Who Are You?

I am John Loveday and I am the Founder of Toppa and Study Academy, two online education businesses based in Birmingham. I grew up in Smith’s Wood Castle Bromwich as a young boy before joining the armed forces aged 16. On leaving the military I worked in various roles prior to setting up my first business. I am a Mentor for other Entrepreneurs and work with various military charities and organisations to support veterans in need. My passion is helping others and I look forward to supporting Acorns Children’s Hospice in any way that I can.

Fun Fact

Before launching my businesses, I worked as a street magician, Bodyguard, Professional Boxer and also a Private Investigator.

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Chartered Accountant Johnathan Dudley is Managing Partner of Crowe’s Midlands and South West region and National Head of Manufacturing Business. On becoming a Business Ambassador, he said: “We spend too much time in life bemoaning what isn’t good in society or our lives when really we are so lucky. What Acorns does is give some positivity and smiles to people so much less fortunate than we are.”

Fun Fact

Johnathan loves Led Zeppelin and has ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as his ringtone

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Kirsty Davies-Chinnock is the MD of Professional Polishing Services Ltd which mechanically polishes stainless steel for a variety of industries including architectural projects such as Grand Central. Kirsty is originally from Birmingham but moved further out to the Staffordshire border where she lives with her husband and two Labradors. Kirsty is also the Director and Chair of the British Stainless-Steel Association, A Director for Art Business Loans which is a Community Development Finance Institution, a Non-Executive Director for TAG Network West Midlands and a Trustee for Birmingham Roller Derby.

“After one of my colleagues recently lost his daughter after a long illness and I wanted to do more to help families in the West Midlands who have children who need additional support. Acorns provide so much to our local families that I am honored to become an Ambassador.”

Fun Fact

In my early 20’s I used to play bass guitar in a rock band.

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

I’m Katie-Jo (KJ), I am the Sales Executive for Downtown in Business and look after Birmingham and surrounding areas. I’ve worked in retail management for most of my working life but have ventured into Hospitality, but the last few years have been in Sales and Events in the city – my favourite career by far!

Fun Fact

Whenever someone asks me a fun fact about myself, I never know what to say?! I suppose being born 10 weeks early weighing just 2lbs is impressive though right?

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Matt Jones is the Founder and MD of Oxbridge, the online college. A Birmingham-based EdTech entrepreneur, NED, angel investor, and charity ambassador, Matt has bootstrapped several multi-million GBP revenue industry-leading organisations. His hobbies include travel, learning to fly and recording music.  

He said: “Acorns Children’s Hospice is the most incredible charity. You only need to spend a short amount of time in one of their hospices to realise this. What particularly strikes me is how cheerful everyone is; in tough circumstances, it’s a place of joy and smiles. I admire how Acorns generously supports both service users and their wider families at such difficult times.” 

Fun Fact

I was (unbelievably) a quiet child, so my parents sent me to drama school.  I’ve been on stage with Lionel Blair at the Hippodrome and then moved on to work in concert lighting at many major events. I have had two altercations with the same A-list celebrity, now my arch-nemesis; once when they were making their backup dancers cry and once when their limo was blocking my drive (long story).

LinkedIn

Muaiad Fraha, founder and managing director of FRAHA Ltd

Who Are You?

I’m Muaiad Fraha, Founder and Managing Director of FRAHA LTD— a digital marketing and events management agency that specialises in working with businesses in the hospitality sector. 

I’m a creative professional that decided to leap into entrepreneurship and establish an independent agency after nearly a decade of working as a graphic designer. It’s my job to help food and drink businesses get noticed through effective PR and marketing campaigns. And I love the creative process of working with each one to express its unique style and personality. 

Fun Fact

If I get to choose my next life, I want to be a Sulphur-crested cockatoo!

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

I’m Neil Jones, a director and Corporate Lawyer at Ansons Solicitors, a Staffordshire based Law firm with offices across the region in Cannock, Lichfield, Mere Green (Sutton Coldfield) and Halesowen. Although originally from Shrewsbury I’ve lived and worked in the Midlands for nearly all of my life apart from a brief stint in Yorkshire where I went to Uni and law school.

I am a very family oriented person and can’t think of anything better than spending my free time with my Wife and two Children (teenagers but not ignoring us just yet!) and our black Labrador, Bailey.

Fun Fact

Not sure it’s fun, but at Easter I decided to start building a 20sqm patio (including the surrounding wall) in our garden from start to finish all on my own (groundworks and all).  Given I could barely put up a straight shelf before I’m feeling quite proud about the progress so far (yes it’s still ongoing) and it’s fair to say that my new best friend is my cement mixer!

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Petro Nicolaides is the CEO of The f-t Group, a national commercial services business based in Solihull. He was born, bred, educated and works in the West Midlands. Petro describes Acorns as the ‘jewel in the crown of the West Midlands, representing everything great about our region’. Adding: “Acorns will always hold a very special place in my heart as it took care of my beautiful Godson Alexis. What they did (and continue to do) for him and our family is immeasurable, and something that we will always hold dear.”

Fun Fact

My first business was at the age of 13, running a burger kiosk for the children of the Greek School.

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Birmingham Entrepreneur, Personality and Hospitality Operator Phil Oldershaw has been a familiar face in the business community for over 30 years, specialising in events management, stage, screen and online presenting, PR and brand development. He said: “Acorns is a selfless charity that ensures this children’s hospice care never stops while also offering respite for families. I wanted to be a part of something so heartfelt.”

Fun Fact

I Co-Founded Birmingham Pride in 1996, launching the first in 1997, which I worked with for 14 years! 

LinkedIn

Who you are?

Stewart Ward is the Business Development Director for Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking in the West Midlands. Stewart grew up in Worcestershire before moving to London at 21 to begin a career in Banking.

He said: “The role that the charity undertakes is one that has always found a place in my heart. Acorns ability to support families at times of such need, coupled with the work they undertake is literally life changing for so many, I couldn’t think of not wanting to be part of such an amazing charitable organisation.”  

Fun Fact

I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the Queen, the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry – all of which were great experiences.

LinkedIn

Who Are You?

Yiannis Maos is the Founder and CEO of Birmingham Tech CIC, a community initiative designed to inspire the next generation, help businesses ScaleUp, and create an environment where people can collaborate and celebrate success.

Yiannis said: “Upon hearing about Acorns, I was immediately in awe of the incredible and amazing work they do to support families whose child have been diagnosed with a life limiting or life threatening condition.”

Fun Fact

I’m a keen amateur chef and love cooking up new recipes.

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By joining as an Acorns Business Member, you will be helping us to provide a vital lifeline for families so that we can be there, when they need us most.