People in WE-LEAD

Core staff

Professor Kiran Trehan

Director, Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Leadership, Economy & Diversity (WE-LEAD)

Professor Kiran Trehan is a leading global expert on diversity, enterprise and leadership development. Through the direction of WE LEAD’s activities, Kiran is driving a new-generation response to transforming leadership diversity in communities and corporations.

She also leads the work of the University of Birmingham on the Race Equality Charter and was the co-author of the West Midlands Leadership Commission Report entitled ‘Leaders Like You’ which identified barriers and enablers to improving diversity amongst leaders in the West Midlands. She has a strong background in exploring and researching diversity in business as well as championing diversity and equality in the work force of the University of Birmingham, throughout the region and nationally.

View Kiran's full profile

Kiran Trehan

Kelly Kealey

Centre Manager, Centre for Women's Enterprise, Leadership, Economy and Diversity (WE-LEAD)

Kelly joined WE LEAD as Centre Manager in September 2018. She manages the day to day activities of WE LEAD, undertaking project management and stakeholder engagement roles, as well as a variety of administrative duties to ensure the smooth running of the Centre. Two key areas of Kelly’s work are event management and communication activities, which are essential for creating an arena for debate, for putting research into practice and for the dissemination of WE LEAD’s work.

Kelly has a background in Politics and International Relations and has previously worked in other roles within the University of Birmingham which paved her way to WE LEAD.

Kelly Kealey

Liz Frost

Project & Communications Manager

Liz joined WE-LEAD in January 2019 in the role of Project & Communication Manager. Having previously worked at De Montfort University and University of Birmingham as a Research Centre Manager, she has spent the last few years experiencing first-hand both small business and family business management. She is now enjoying a balance of both areas of work.

Liz is currently working on project management and communication activities on a project funded by the Institute for Leadership & Management together with other members of the WE LEAD team.

Centre members

Professor Simon Down

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organization 

Simon Down is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organization at the University of Birmingham. He has previously worked in the UK at Anglia Ruskin University as Deputy Dean for Research, Newcastle University, Plymouth University, and in Australia at Wollongong University. He has published books, articles and book chapters on small firm policy and regulation, self-identity, indigenous entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education in North Korea, social enterprise in Haiti, management history and ethnographic methodology in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Environment and Planning A, Human Relations, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Organization and the International Small Business Journal

Simon Down

Dr John Gibney

Senior Fellow, Department of Management 

Dr John Gibney’s main areas of research interest include leadership & governance in city, regional and cross-border economic development, the future of place leadership, leadership and purpose and leadership and disability. 

Most recently, he has developed important initiatives which offer a distinctive contribution from Birmingham in debates about leaders and leadership in, and for, place making/shaping. John also coordinated the Birmingham team working on a research project for the national Centre for Excellence in Leadership at Lancaster University and the national Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) on “The ‘New’ Place Shaping: The Implications for Leaders in the Further Education Sector”.

John is a co-founder, and a co-coordinator, of the Regional Studies Association (RSA) international research network on ‘Leadership in Urban and Regional Development’.

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John Gibney

Dr Jane Glover

Research Fellow, Department of Management 

Dr Jane Glover’s key research interests centre on small family firms, with a focus on the socio-emotional wealth of family firms. Due to her own background as the third generation of a family farm business, Jane’s work explores the relationships and representations of agricultural family businesses and the landscape in which they operate. Gender is a critical aspect of the work Jane does around family farming, family business and the role that women play on both the business side and the family side.

Jane is currently working with Prof. Kiran Trehan on a project funded by the Institute for Leadership & Management to look at the challenges leaders in micro and small businesses face in building sustainable businesses and also how leaders can be developed in micro and small business.

Jane Glover

Dr Endrit Kromidha

Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Dr Endrit Kromidha’s research interests relate to digital platforms for entrepreneurship, project management, collaborative innovation, access to finance and e-government systems as empowerment and development tools for the less advantaged ones. 

Currently, Endrit is researching RangDe, a social enterprise crowdfunding platform in India that provides access to finance for women to start and grow their businesses.

View Endrit’s full profile

Endrit Kromidha

Professor Susan Marlow

Professor of Entrepreneurship 

Susan Marlow is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Birmingham, UK . She is holder of the Queens Award for Enterprise, UK field Editor for Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, Editor for the International Small Business Journal, Fellow of the UK Institution for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Her research interests focus upon entrepreneurial behaviour with a particular expertise in gender issues; she has published her research in FT top 50 journals and a diverse range of leading US and UK journals.  Currently, she is completing a three year project exploring entrepreneurial activity amongst women refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. This project has been undertaken with Professor Haya al Dajani at Plymouth University and funded by the ESRC and DFiD; it focused specifically upon the potential empowerment opportunities small scale entrepreneurship might offer to women displaced by conflict from their homelands in Iraq, Syria, Palestine and sub-Saharan Africa.

Susan Marlow

Professor Mark Saunders

Professor of Business Research Methods and Director of PhD Programmes

Professor Mark Saunders’ research on entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) focusses on SME success, trust and distrust in entrepreneurial relationships and on later-life entrepreneurs. His interests also include research methods, in particular participants selection and methods for understanding organisational relationships; human resource aspects of the management of change, in particular trust within and between organisations and organisational learning. 

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Mark N K Saunders

Dr Natalia Vershinina

Research Associate

Professor Natalia Vershinina is a Research Associate at WE LEAD, and has recently joined Audencia Business School, Nantes, France as a Professor of Entrepreneurship within the department of Business and Society. Her research interests cut across diverse but complementary areas of entrepreneurship, gender, family firms, ethnicity and social class. In her latest work she is exploring migrant entrepreneurs' micro-resilience, strategic agility of small firms, women's involvement in family firms and mothers involvement in entrepreneurship. 

View Natalia’s full profile

Natalia Vershinina

Our Entrepreneurs in Residence 

Teresa Boughey

Founder and CEO, Jungle HR Ltd & Jungle Diversity 

Founder and CEO of National Award-Winning Jungle HR a strategic HR Consultancy Practice that works with Executive Boards and Leadership Teams during times of change and business transformation.

Teresa has operated at Senior level within a variety of industries and sectors including FTSE 100 and 250 companies, Financial Services, Retail, Travel Industry, Private and Public Sectors, Charitable Organisations and a Sunday Times Top 100 Company that grew 30% year on year.

Her achievements are award winning and include leading on the acquisition of the iconic Gleneagles hotel, delivering business transformation programmes across Europe achieving combined cost savings of c3.5million euros as well as providing Executive Coaching to Board & C-suite members.

Teresa has also been appointed to one of only 50 UK Female Entrepreneur Ambassador roles, she has been recognised as a Top 100 F:entreprenuer and is a business board member of the Women and Enterprise, and Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Groups. She is a TEDx Speaker, media commentator and has appeared on BBC One’s Sunday Politics Show and local BBC Radio. Teresa has also been a judge at the UK Biz Awards and UK Employee Experience Awards.

Her #1 bestselling book, ‘Closing the Gap – 5 steps to creating an Inclusive Culture’ provides Corporate CEOs and HR Directors with a clear framework which can be used to create a culture that welcomes diversity and aims to close the gap in gender pay using her TRIBE methodology.

Teresa Boughey

Rosie Ginday

Founder and Director of Miss Macaroon 

Rosie founded Miss Macaroon in 2011, a social enterprise which invests 100% of its profits into providing training and jobs for long-term unemployed young people.

Alongside WE LEAD’s Director, Professor Kiran Trehan, Rosie was appointed as one of the West Midlands Combined Authority Leadership Commissioners. The Leadership Commission produced the ‘Leaders Like You’ report, which was commended by Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Rosie is also currently working with WE LEAD on a collaborative initiative with Network Rail and a whole host of academic institutions, private businesses and third sector organisations. The project is aiming to greatly increase the social impact of Miss Macaroon through the provision of mentoring and stronger pathways into employment through apprenticeships.

Learn more about Miss Macaroon

Rosie Ginday

Jacqueline Jackson 

Partner, Thomas Jardine & Co

Jacqueline Jackson is the 4th Generation Partner of Thomas Jardine & Co; Non-Exec Director; Chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Regulating our Future Industry Group; IOD Committee Member; Entrepreneur in Residence, Leader in Residence and Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University.

Jacqueline is an expert in Leadership Learning and has a wealth of experience in Board Facilitation, Peer Group Facilitation, Family Business and SME Growth. She brings her practical and theoretical skills together as the Partner of Thomas Jardine & Co, her 4th generation family business, which has moved from 'Grocers' to specialists in family and foodie businesses across the generations.

As her career has spanned both education and business, Jacqueline believes that the value is in understanding the research, understanding its impact and how businesses can use that to move forward.

Learn more about Thomas Jardine & Co

Jaqueline Jackson

Mengchen Kang


Mengchen, a Chinese national, is the Co-Founder of TRADESCEND, an International Business Planning and Entrepreneurial Learning Consultancy where she champions women's entrepreneurship and oversees entrepreneurial seminars and events. She has also launched KOTOMEC, a high-tech orthotics and medical devices company based in Beijing, China.  

Mengchen and her Co-Founder and husband, James O’Toole, met at Birmingham Business School whilst doing their MBA. They consider themselves to be academic entrepreneurs and are interested in how their formal business qualification can be applied to entrepreneurship. They will be working with WE LEAD to apply academic theory to practice through their business ventures.

Learn more about TRADESCEND here

Mengchen Kang

Wade Lyn

Wade Lyn CBE Managing Director Cleone Foods Limited and Hon Consul for Jamaica in Birmingham

Manufacturers of Jamaican Patties under the “Island Delight” brand to a number of major retail multipliers making it the largest manufacturer of Jamaican Patties in the UK.

Cleone Foods has experienced consistent growth and supplies his “Island Delight” brand to six major multiple retailers, making it the largest manufacturer of Jamaican patties in the UK.

Wade does not rest on his laurels and believes that one must always improve on previous best to keep the business successful. This has led to wider recognition and personal progression for Wade Lyn. His vision and enthusiasm for generating success and promoting social responsibility is now utilised by many other companies and organisations.

He holds board level positions with other local businesses, including Birmingham Assay Office, Greets Green Partnership, Landlord and Property Agents amongst others.

Learn out more about Island Delight here

Wade Lyn

James O'Toole


James is currently the Principle Coach at TRADESCEND, an International Business Planning and Entrepreneurial Learning Consultancy that he launched with his wife, Mengchen, in 2015. He is also the Co-Founder of KOTOMEC, a high-tech orthotics and medical devices company based in Beijing, China. 

A former Investment Banker, James has worked for J.P. Morgan (Capital Markets Advisory) and Rothschild & Co (Mergers & Acquisitions) and brings a wealth of financial knowledge to his entrepreneurial ventures. 

James and his Co-Founder and wife, Mengchen Kang, met at Birmingham Business School whilst doing their MBA. They consider themselves to be academic entrepreneurs and are interested in how their formal business qualification can be applied to entrepreneurship. They will be working with WE LEAD to apply academic theory to practice through their business ventures.

Learn out more about TRADESCEND here

James O Toole