Meet Our Executive Team

The Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce Executive Board is staffed by a team of volunteers and members who are passionate about supporting the local business economy and the wider community. Each member is an expert in one or more fields, offering time, guidance and practical support to the Chamber and it’s members.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Michael Ratcliffe MBE

Chief Executive

Michael has been passionately involved with the Chamber since 2000, playing an instrumental part in setting up the Executive Board in 2004 when he became the Chief Executive.

Michael is a successful businessman who is actively involved with many charitable causes and foundations in Cheltenham and abroad. In 1976 Michael founded M R Ratcliffe Consultants Ltd, a leading insurance brokers based in central Cheltenham who specialise in the transport industry.

Michael works with all sectors of local Cheltenham society, encouraging people and organisations to take a more holistic approach towards their environment. If you’re looking for the man with the most passion about ensuring that the business community of Cheltenham continues to thrive and grow, look no further.

Jon Leamon

Deputy Chief Executive

Jon was formerly a General Manager of Eagle Star, and he joined the Chamber in 2003 initially to expand his business contacts, but then began to contribute his own expertise to help other Cheltenham based businesses grow and prosper. He has held a number of roles within the Chamber including President, Membership Executive and now Deputy Chief Executive. Jon’s wish is for Cheltenham to be recognised as the Number one destination for everyone visiting the Southwest/Midlands.

Catriona Murray

President

Catriona joined the Cheltenham Chamber while she was working for the Department of Work and Pensions, on employment issues. Retirement gave her more time for the Chamber and this led to her being elected as President in 2015 – a position that Catriona still holds, having been re-elected on successive years – 2019 to 2020 will be her fifth and final year.

Having a long family connection with Cheltenham and a career of over 40 years working on employment and unemployment issue in the area, Catriona has a deeply held interest in participating in any activity which supports the present and future prosperity of our town and finds her voluntary work with the Chamber the ideal vehicle to pursue this aim.

Now retired Catriona is able to be an active member of Soroptimist International and pursue some hands on craft making, such as embroidery and upholstery.

Dan Harris

Vice President & Newsletter Editor

Dan He has worked in senior marketing positions in the UK, Europe and USA with Apple Computer, McAfee Security, Mitel, BroadVision, Virgin.net and Europe Online. Dan enjoys working with Chamber members to help grow and promote their businesses throughout the UK and internationally, and has served on the Gloucestershire Enterprise Growth Hub on behalf of the Chamber. He has been on the Executive Committee since 2010 serving as Membership Secretary and Head of Marketing until 2013, and sees great things ahead for both the Chamber and its members.

Dan is the Editor of Cheltenham Chamber News, a publication which is distributed widely across the business community in Gloucestershire. Dan is the manager of two local businesses: the sales and marketing company, HymnSheet Ltd, and First Move Europe, which helps growth companies establish and develop their operations in the UK and Europe.

Anna Freeman

Vice President and Membership Executive

Anna is a qualified counsellor, a member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy and founder of singles agency, Anna’s Parties.  Having worked across the UK and in the Middle East, Anna directly supports the Chamber members and our regular networking events as the membership executive.

Kevan Blackadder

Deputy President & Retail Executive

Kevan heads the Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) team and was previously Cheltenham’s Town Centre Manager.

At Cheltenham BID, he represents the interests of more than 600 town centre businesses including national and independent retailers, food and drink and the night-time economy and the professional sector.

He spent most of his career working as a journalist and was editor of the Gloucestershire Echo from 2008 until 2014. He was previously assistant editor of the Bristol Post and started his career as a reporter on his home-town newspaper, the Whitehaven News in Cumbria.

He is a trustee of Gloucestershire Crime Stoppers and sits on the board of the Cheltenham West End Partnership.

Kevan’s wish for Cheltenham is for it to become “the retail and foodie capital for the South West and the country’s best-known festival town.”

Sarah Nicholls

Marketing Planning and Operations Executive

In her role as Marketing Executive for the Chamber, Sarah’s focus is to support the delivery of member-focused services that add value.  With experience in strategy, marketing and communications, Sarah facilitates the creation of our plans and leads our marketing co-ordination group.

Sarah is Sales and Marketing Director for M R Ratcliffe Insurance Brokers.  She has held a number of senior roles in the financial services industry, in the fields of strategy and marketing.  Sarah has an MBA, an MSc in human resource management, is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a Chartered Insurance Practitioner and is a qualified practitioner of the Myers Briggs (MBTI) psychometric tool.

Sarah is a keen supporter of Charlton Kings Cub Scouts, St Mary’s Church Charlton Kings and Christian Aid.

Tracey Adams

Seminars Executive

Tracey organises and champions our popular seminars and training sessions. As a CIM qualified marketer, Tracey worked for 20 years in businesses such as British Airways and Tui. However, when it came to returning to the workplace after having children, she discovered a significant issue that not only affected her and her peers but ‘UK plc’ in general – that there was a complete lack of dialog between businesses and recruiters to address the huge and over-looked talent pool of professional women-returners.

As a result, in 2013 she set up her own niche recruitment business based in Gloucestershire, The Flexible Resource Company, focusing on flexible working, particularly women-returners. In December 2016 this business merged with Ten2Two, a national company championing the same issue, with the aim to further grow the opportunities for flexible working in Gloucestershire and Bristol. Through her Chamber executive work, Tracey also supports local professionals seeking to return to work.

Joseph Cox

Digital, Press & Social Media Executive

Joseph manages press and social media communications and advises on commercial strategy and digital marketing for the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce.

Joseph was the senior marketer at several global brands before founding successful Gloucestershire based marketing agency CAPEX Marketing in 2016. Joseph has enjoyed promoting organisations big and small from many industries including retail, construction, technology, manufacturing and professional services.

An advocate of the belief that businesses should build communities not take from them, Joseph is also an active Committee Member for Scoo-B-Doo Neonatal Charity and is involved with a number of other local causes and community organisations.

Jacky Fletcher

Events Executive

Previously a Cheltenham Borough Councillor and ex-Mayor of Cheltenham, Jacky organises all of the official Chamber Events. Jacky is passionate about Cheltenham becoming known as a town that is clean of rubbish with well-maintained public facilities and (flat!) pavements. Jacky supports initiatives that ensure the town remains open for business to all, including tourists from all over Great Britain and the world.

Rob Duncan

Planning Executive

Rob’s experience spans over 30 years of working in the commercial property market in Gloucestershire and the West Midlands, and for Government Departments across the Country.

Cheltenham has complex land and commercial space challenges and Rob brings a wealth of inside knowledge in this area, consulting for a number of companies in the town.

A keen sportsman, Rob is a life Vice President of Cheltenham Cricket Club and a supporter of Gloucester Rugby club.

Katherine Douse

Membership Executive & Legal Support

Katherine supports our member management sub-committee with time and effort spent engaging with members to ensure our services run smoothly. Katherine also advises the Chamber regarding commercial legal issues, including the production of new policies and terms.

Katherine is a Senior Associate in the Commercial team for Knights PLC, a legal services provider in Cheltenham. Katherine’s experience ranges from business-to-business and business-to-consumer contracts, terms and conditions of trading and framework agreements to data protection and onsite compliance audits.

Brian Chaplin

Photography Executive

Brian Chaplin is a former President of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and a past Mayor of Cheltenham (2005-2006). Brian is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and following a period in the broadcast television industry founded Eurovideo Business Television in 1985, with the primary object of producing professional video films for the industrial and commercial sector.

Brian is a keen supporter of the Science and Music festivals and is an outspoken member of the team, regularly supporting networking events as the Chamber’s professional photographer.

Steven Murray

Honorary Solicitor

As an honorary Solicitor, Steven provides advice and support to the Chamber and it’s members regarding a wide range of legal issues.

Steven has an innate skill for resolving contentious issues as a commercial litigator at Harrison Clark Rickerbys.  Steven is experienced in a wide range of issues including: product liability, breaches of restrictive covenants, professional negligence, and contractual disputes.  However, his specialism is in Intellectual Property issues such as copyright and trade mark infringements and domain name disputes.

Claire Thayers

Tourism Executive

Passionate about Cheltenham, Claire loves working with the Chamber, and continues to raise awareness about the need to collaborate and work together. “If we can shine a light on the town, and encourage people to shop here, eat here and stay here, the local economy improves, which is good for everyone in the community.”

Claire’s other passion is social responsibility and she works closely with Michael Ratcliffe via the Association of Gloucestershire Chambers to support not only Cheltenham but other towns across Gloucestershire

Claire lived and worked in Cornwall for 17 years, working as a freelance consultant with Visit Cornwall and Cornwall Chamber. Aside from the Chamber, Claire writes for Cotswold Style magazine.

Mark Minchella

Honorary Treasurer

Mark Minchella is the Treasurer for the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, dealing with the day to day finances and annual accounts and budgets. As an avid supporter of Cheltenham and Gloucestershire businesses, Mark works with a large network of local professionals and businesses which he encourages to work together so as to retain as many services, fees and revenues as possible within the local community.

Mark is currently an Audit and Advisory Partner within Davies Mayers Barnett LLP, a firm of Chartered Accountants based in Cheltenham.  Mark focuses on business development and co-ordinating the firm’s link to the banking and finance community, taking a lead partner role on due diligence and corporate finance assignments.

Roger Marchant

Transport Executive

Roger is Managing Director of Marchant’s Coaches Limited, which has been an active Chamber member since 1994. He is a past Chamber President and has represented the Chamber on transport, planning, retail and tourism committees.  Roger currently manages the Chamber’s transport affairs, lobbying Borough and County Councils.

On leaving school Roger joined the family business, starting a five-year apprenticeship as a Commercial Motor Mechanic. After spending several years coach driving throughout Great Britain and Europe, Roger took over the running of the workshops and subsequently succeeded his father to become Managing Director.

Roger enjoys teaching and training karate at the Cheltenham YMCA, with 2017 marking his 45th year in the sport – so don’t mess with Roger!

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