HullBID audience inspired by calibre of Humber Business Week speakers

A charity boss from Canada, a chief of police from Scotland and a homegrown captain of industry captivated the audience at the HullBID Inspiring people dinner with some hard-hitting revelations from childhood and their private lives, as well as some important advice from their successful careers.

The HullBID Inspiring People Dinner held at the Two Rivers Restaurant at the Deep in Hull on June 5th, 2024. HullBid Executive Director Kathryn Shillito makes a speech at the beginning of the dinner. Picture: Jim Mitchell James Mitchell Photography 07955 772630 Images are supplied for HullBID promotionalpurposes only. Copyright and commerical ownership remains with HullBID and the credited photographer.

Business leaders from a wide variety of public and private sector organisations delivered another full house at The Deep for an occasion which has become a highlight of Humber Business Week.

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “The calibre of the event is all down to the calibre of the speakers, and they all opened up to share some compelling anecdotes and words of wisdom.

“It was clear from the feedback we received that our guests derive immense value from gaining access to such successful individuals, and from getting the opportunity to network with each other and share experiences and ideas.”

Natasha Barley told of her work with children in the Education Business Partnership and then Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University on the way to her current role as CEO of the Sailors’ Children’s Society, a Hull-based national charity supporting families of seafarers in times of crisis.

David Kilburn CBE outlined his career in the building trade, which led to him co-founding MKM Building Supplies in 1995 alongside close friend Peter Murray. Nearly 30 years on, he still plays an active role in the company and uses his significant platform to help influence and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Paul Anderson, appointed Chief Constable of Humberside in 2023, spoke about his 34-year career and in particular his force’s remarkable journey from being in special measures just six years ago to achieving an “outstanding” rating in six out of nine categories in a report released last November by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

Natasha found her way to Hull after working in her native Canada, China, Thailand and the UK and said the link between her three roles is her passion for helping children fulfil their potential. Of her move to the Children’s University she said: “It felt like a huge responsibility and it was because it was changing children’s lives.”

When Covid forced the charity to pause its face-to-face work they found another way, delivering thousands of packs of educational materials to children in their homes as well as over 800 laptops to enable online learning.

She revealed: “We raised more than £4m during that period and worked with 68,000 children.”

Taking over at the Sailors’ Children’s Society in 2023, Natasha helped her team raise a record £75,000 from their iconic Sportsman’s Lunch and also added a Ladies Lunch which generated £30,000 from its inaugural event.

She said: “It’s a huge transition going from a local charity to a national one and it gave me the opportunity to meet more and more phenomenal and incredible people.”

David was born in South Cave and grew up in Hull where his father worked as a director at Jacksons bakery, having served as a pilot in the Second World War and lost his own father at the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.

David confessed: “School and I didn’t go together. I never bothered to take any exams. Nobody seemed to take an interest in me and I wasn’t too bothered about what they talked about anyway.”

But he got a job with the Hull Savings Bank and, after his dad was sent to manage a bakery in Stockton, David joined a building products company. He set up his own business, sold it, was made redundant by the new owners and then launched MKM with a team of five. It now has 118 branches and 3,100 staff.

He said: “If you want to be a success don’t be a ‘me too business’. Don’t copy anybody else. What I wanted to do was make our branches better than everybody else’s. We wanted to be in locations where people would see us. We also carry a wider range of products. You can build a house from just one MKM branch.”

Paul came from a farming family in Scotland and his father served in the Royal Navy. He revealed his “biggest life lesson” came with a move to Tilbury in East London.

He said: “I learned what poverty looked like and what real hardship looked like.”

Paul told of lessons learned from dealing with trauma and bereavement and some “truly horrendous scenes”, including the current investigation into Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.

Paul also told of his pride in leading his 5,000 officers to transform Humberside Police into the top performing force in the UK, with the next report imminent.

He said: “We are not perfect. We let people down every day and there’s a long way to go and I promise I will always give my all to improve that.

“I am confident we will come out again at the top of the pack for very near because we do the basics.

“There’s nothing sophisticated about us as a police force. The different is not only do we do the basics we know what the basics are. When other forces contracted and got rid of their neighbourhood teams Humberside didn’t and never will.”