Foundation Members

Transpire – The Director Network’s Foundation Members are people who have supported the development of the platform over the (many!) years and who recognize the need for the services we provide.

Alice Chapman

Alice is the founder of Practice providing non-executive director, consultancy and training services to privately run, entrepreneurial businesses.  Her background is in private equity and venture capital.  She has been Investment Director for 3i plc; Investment and Managing Director of Catalyst Fund Management; Chair of Investment Committee for South West Ventures; as well as Board Director and mentor for many entrepreneurial businesses. Her investment track record includes Parragon Book Service, Marlborough Stirling Group, Select Software, and Cotswold the Outdoor People and whilst at 3i she delivered an IRR in excess of 53%.  Alice now works with a number of businesses on the M4 corridor but feels particularly committed to Bristol when she lives with her family.  She won Mentor of the Year in the Bristol & Bath Women in Business Awards, 2016.

“Tony, just to say thank you and congratulations for another excellent Transpire evening. You somehow manage to get the atmosphere just right which makes for a high quality discussion and then a really relaxed bit of networking afterwards. I’m always sorry to leave.”

Francesca Ecsery

Francesca is a Portfolio Non-Executive Director with expertise in Marketing and 25+ years’ experience in directing in both blue-chip companies and start-ups in the Digital / Retail / FMCG / Leisure Travel industries.

Currently, Francesca is a Non-Executive Director on 4 boards - Air France, F&C Investment Trust plc, Marshall Motor Holdings plc and Share plc. She Chairs the ‘NED Talks’ workshop program for Senior Women at WACL Ltd and in 2016 was a finalist for the Financial Times NED Awards. Francesca is an investor in several start-ups, acts as an advisor in the leisure travel, retail and digital marketing sectors and works as a mentor to several digital entrepreneurs and senior executives.

“I really enjoyed the Board Diversity panel discussion and felt energised by both the diversity of the attendees and the people sharing the panel with me. Thank you for inviting me to speak”

Sharon Critchlow

After 8 years in public practice accountancy and 17 years of growing and running a Top 100 UK financial advisory business, Sharon decided it was time for a change. She now coaches others who wish to fulfil their potential by providing practical, candid feedback in a safe environment; her aim is for everyone to find their enthusiasm and to nurture it. Sharon has years of experience in growing businesses, managing teams and developing people and she is a Non-Executive Director of Discover Your Bounce, Co-Director of Discover Your Bounce for Business and a Director of Newgrange Developments Ltd where she advises financial services businesses on governance.

Sharon is also a Global Council Member for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), where she sits on both the Governance Design Committee and the UK Strategy Implementation Committee. In addition to representing their 209,000 members who are situated in 180 countries, she is a passionate supporter of their social mobility aim to reach out to potential students worldwide – whatever their cultural, financial or educational background.

“Absolute pleasure to be part of the Transpire network.”

Vivienne Aiyela

Vivienne is Non-Executive Director for London FA, the first black woman in the history of Football, Chair of Footballers Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary (arbitration) Panels and an Independent Advisor on Race, Diversity and Inclusion to the Police Commissioner and Senior Officers of the Metropolitan Police. In recognition of her work for the Met, she received the highest Civil Award, the Commander’s Commendation for Outstanding Leadership. Board member and Chair overseeing a £110million residential regeneration project of Green Horizons/Metropolitan Housing Association, which won UK and European awards. When not busy saving the world she can be found at home with her sewing machine, she makes 95% of her own clothes, or in the gym attending indoor cycling classes and boxing training sessions with a professional boxing coach!

Since becoming a NED I was contacted by several people to join their networks. I chose Transpire. I am glad that I did. As a Diversity and Inclusion Professional, Diversity at Board level is very important and I was honoured to be asked to be part of a panel discussing the importance of Diversity and Inclusion at Board Level.. The opportunity to network after the panel discussion/subject talks is priceless. I now have some great connections and also found an experienced Board level Mentor.”

Andrew Manning

Andrew is currently Chair of GP Care Ltd and Silcoa Ltd, and NED at Nationwide Hire Ltd, as well as CEO of Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled. He has also served as Vice Chair of United Housing, and on the risk & audit committee of United Communities, as well as on the board of the RICS and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. Andrew is a judge of the PwC West Country Business of the Year Award, lectures at various business schools and has recently published a book on strategy for service organisations.

He has spent the past 30 years leading and advising a wide range of service organisations, including leading law firms, property maintenance and management businesses, cleaning companies, energy management businesses, health & care organisations, consultancy and advisory businesses, plus many more. His roles have included Chair, NED, CEO, COO, MD, consultant, and educator.

“There is a great need for the services Transpire provides. I always enjoy speaking at Transpire events as the preparation is a much-needed catalyst for some serious thinking, as indeed are the panel discussions at the events”

Greville Commins

Greville combines his high tech background, start-up experience, funding and international business development with a 18 year mentoring track record to help entrepreneurs accelerate their businesses. Originally studying electronics Greville formed his own start-up company designing bespoke production line test systems in 1982 culminating in an exit after 3 years. His high tech marketing career began in 1985 with 5 years in Intel Systems Product Marketing. Joining STMicroelectronics in 1990 he marketed silicon and software globally, spent 5 years as US Operations Director in Silicon Valley gaining US, Europe and Asian business experience. In 2001 he was appointed ST Marketing Director sourcing IP and technology for future products. An early stage business mentor, he founded Varoom Ltd in 2007, to help accelerate early-stage technology enterprises. Also in 2007, he became Entrepreneur in Residence in the SETsquared high tech business acceleration centre in Bristol. He has gone on to mentor over 200 companies and sit on multiple Boards as NED and NonExec Chair. He has taught enterprise courses at the University of Bristol and guest lectured on the Bath University MBA.

“ALL Directors just need to know this stuff, which is why I encourage the Directors of the companies I chair to attend. Transpire has made NED & Director CPD and Networking accessible and affordable ”

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