That's a Wrap! Series 1 of Northern Spotlights Podcast #TezTalks

12th Jun 2024

Last month saw the closing of the completion of the first series of our podcast, ‘Northern Spotlights’ 

First aired in October last year this series has brought eight episodes of insightful conversations and engaging stories to our audience.  

Northern Spotlights aims to provide valuable insights and inspiration to business professionals, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to thrive in the world of business. Throughout this series, we explored innovation, community, and culture, as well as finding out each of our guests' favourite biscuit.   

Our Northern Spotlights podcast celebrates individual’s journeys and provides a platform for sharing insights, strategies, and practical advice, fostering a community of support and empowerment. By showcasing success stories, we contribute to the collective growth of businesses in the region, offering a valuable resource that inspires, educates, and connects our audience. It is not just a series of interviews; it's a catalyst for positive change, cultivating a culture of collaboration, innovation, and prosperity in the North.  

Hosted by Terry McStea, key highlights of Northern Spotlights include: 

In-Depth Conversations: Northern Spotlight delves into the stories and experiences of successful business leaders, uncovering the secrets behind their achievements and the challenges they overcame. 

Timely Topics: Our podcast covers a wide range of topics, from leadership and innovation to marketing, finance, and technology, ensuring that listeners receive the most up-to-date and relevant information. 

Diverse Perspectives: We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential for business success. Our podcast showcases a variety of voices and perspectives, promoting inclusivity and innovation. 

Community Engagement: We encourage our listeners to be part of our growing community by sharing their thoughts, questions, and suggestions, fostering a collaborative environment for learning and growth. 

Series One Round-up 

Episode 1: Ian Farrar – Far North & The Industry Angel

In the first edition, we caught up with Ian Farrar, to chat about all things from nearly becoming a policeman, to breaking career path myths, the huge impact of having a mentor in the early stages of your career, and the high price of work overload.  Ian is the director of Far North – a Sales & Marketing consultancy & host of the Industry Angel podcast, aiming to fulfil growth potential of companies of a national scale.  

Episode 2: Angela MacOscar – Seizing Opportunities for Success

Angela is Head of Innovation at Northumbrian Water – a company that provides mains water & sewerage services across England, serving over 2.7 million customers, and one of the key people behind their annual Innovation Festival. But she started her career at Proctor and Gamble, responsible for a number of innovative products in the Bold detergents range. We chatted about the importance of innovation in all areas of your career, some of the issues facing the water industry, as well as her switch to veganism, as evidenced by her choice of biscuit, the Biscotti Cream.  

Episode 3: Andy Haddon – The Invaluable Lessons of an Entrepreneurial Adventure

Andy has had a long and varied career from global logistics and food transport, to a variety of eco-businesses. But it’s for Big River Bakery that he’s best know, along with his sidekick Scottie the Stottie. Which is much more than just a bakery, and very much part of a local food production movement. So we heard about the birth of the bakery, the role of Spam as an investment tool, visits from the Hairy Bikers, and the launch of National Stottie Week.    

Episode 4: Joanna Feeley – Unveiling the Crucial Role of Creative Thinking

Joanna heads up one of only a handful of trend forecasting agencies, based in Newcastle, and helping to inform a host of household brands.  We heard about her very early fashion influences, discovering that fashion design was an actual career, her time in New York and the setting up of TrendBible, very much on a shoestring.  As well as the importance and values of spotting and acting upon future trends.  

Episode 5: Colette Safhill – A journey from Adversity to Entrepreneurship

In this edition, we caught up with Colette Safhill, founder of Myth and Goat Drinks ,as she talks through the inspiring story of how past experiences lead her to entrepreneurship. It’s probably fair to say that Colette had a rather troubled upbringing, and early life, and its those experiences that led her to creating her range of alcohol free drinks, as well as running a successful psychotherapy clinic. After a pretty intense first half, we hear about her recent successes, winning a slew of awards, and having her drinks served at the Kings Coronation celebration at the UK Embassy in Dubai.

Episode 6: Herb Kim – Keeping an Eye on Our Future

In this episode, Terry sits down with Herb Kim, Founder of the Thinking Digital Conference and host of numerous TEDx events across the North. We’ll hear about his early life in the US, his move to the UK to establish Codeworks, and the key to creating and maintaining successful events.  

Episode 7: Jerry Hall – Mastering Brand Strategy

DECIDE are the longest established brand agency in the UK, responsible for amongst other things the creation of the Fairy Liquid baby. We’ll hearing from Jerry about his journey through the army, to tax accountant and finally Chair of a brand agency, as well as the secrets behind the perfect ‘cheese shot’, and how to get your products not just on, but more importantly off the supermarket shelf.  

Episode 8: Paul Callaghan – From Birth of the Internet to Rebirth of the Fire Station

In the last episode of the series, Terry is joined by Paul Callaghan. Paul is a local business extraordinaire, he’s the Co-Founder and the Chair of The Leighton Group – a traditional print-based publisher that excelled from the birth of the internet in the early 90’s. Paul is also on the board of trustees at Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust, and behind the Fire Station growing it into one of the regions finest venues.

Audience Engagement: The response to Northern Spotlights has been great! Listeners have shared their thoughts and appreciation  

"Excellent, Fascinating watch.” [Listener on YouTube]  

"Great to listen to your story, and direction, well done.” [Listener on YouTube]  

Comments from our podcast host Terry McStea:

“It’s been an absolute pleasure, an honour in fact to spend time talking to these amazing people, finding out about where they started, what inspired them, and how they created their amazing businesses.  

When it was first suggested we did a podcast, I had no idea what to expect, in part because I don’t actually watch a lot of podcasts. Which might be been a good thing as we just made it the way we wanted to, in the hope that people would like it. And it turns out they do.  

We have some amazing guests coming up in Season 2. With one in particular, my initial reaction was, there’s no way they’d agree to be on it, but as we’ve discovered shy bairns get nowt."

As we wrap up the first series, we want to thank all our listeners for their support and enthusiasm. We are excited to bring you more captivating stories and conversations in the upcoming series. Stay tuned, and if you missed any episodes, you can catch up on either YouTube or Spotify...  or for shorter bite sized clips, follow us on TikTok @northernspotlights

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