Gary Woodman, Chief Executive
Gary is driving forward the Worcestershire LEP and leading an Executive Team to support the WLEP’s ambitions and delivery of the WLEP business plan.
Gary is an innovative leader. Galvanising business leaders across Worcestershire together with local authority and educational leaders, Gary has consistently achieved success in his role.
This builds on his previous record as Head of Policy and Education at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, from which he has brought with him a wealth of business insight and networks as well as considerable experience of Government policy and delivery. Educated at the University of Wales, Cardiff, where he obtained his degree in Leisure and Recreation Management, and the University of Gloucestershire, where he studied for his postgraduate diploma in Business Administration, he previously worked for Gloucestershire County Council’s market towns and economic development arm, overseeing regeneration.
Luke Willetts, Director of Operations
Luke is responsible for leading on the delivery of LEP funded activity, working closely with the Chairman, Chief Executive, LEP Board and partner organisations. Luke is responsible for ensuring the Executive Team operate effective programme and performance management arrangements across the LEP’s broad portfolio with a clear commitment to continuous improvement. Luke has a key role to play in stakeholder engagement, with a particular focus on working with partners to generate concepts or ideas in response to national or local programmes to support economic growth in the county.
He has extensive experience of the public sector, having worked the vast majority of his career in local government. Luke has established a strong track record in programme and project management, particularly in developing and implementing economic development projects, and was a key member of the team that led on developing the county’s Strategic Economic Plan. Educated at the University of Worcester, Luke graduated with a degree in Business Management and Information Technology.
Linda Smith, Director of Enterprise
Linda has joined the team in this newly created role to develop a Centre of Entrepreneurship and support new businesses setting up across emerging technologies in Worcestershire.
From her former roles as Director of International Trade at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce (DIT) and her directorships in a number of small technology companies she has brought with her a diverse range of commercial and international business development experience. Linda has also represented the defence and security sector for the West Midlands region and has brokered trade missions and commercial relationship development with over twenty countries. She will continue to develop links as part of the Midlands Engine Cyber programme following the recently signed MOU with the State of Maryland, USA.
Judy Chadwick, Director of Skills
Judy is leading the skills initiative for the WLEP. Judy also works as the Skills and Investment Group Manager at the Worcestershire County Council. She was initially tasked with building a team within the economic development directorate which could develop and promote the wider skills agenda across Worcestershire. This role was eventually expanded to cover the LEP skills lead role.
Over the past few years Judy and her team have built up a reputation of successfully delivering many ESF / ESIF, National and locally funded programmes and initiatives. Judy’s group manager role within the council also includes the management of a number of teams including Libraries and Learning and the NEET prevention Team.
Her expanded role includes the co-creation of the Worcestershire Apprenticeship brand and concept to take apprenticeship engagement to a wider audience and build strong active relationships with employers which would create links with schools to support careers activity. Judy’s mission is to ensure that young people have the skills to work in our economy and build a workforce Worcestershire can be proud of.
Phoebe Dawson, Director of Inward Investment & Partnerships
Phoebe joined the Worcestershire LEP team in January 2020 as the Director for Inward Investment & Partnerships.
Prior to joining Worcestershire LEP Executive Team, Phoebe was the CEO of Worcester Business Improvement District. Phoebe led Worcester BID to secure its most successful ballot result in its history, securing over £2 million investment for the city with over 84.9% businesses voting in favour of another five-year term. During her time at the helm the BID co-developed the new brand for the city, Visit Worcester, which was developed with the city council. They also supported the establishment of a partnership approach to caring for the homeless and vulnerable ‘Worcester Cares’, and Worcester was shortlisted for the prestigious High Street of the Year awards.
Phoebe brings a wealth of experience in business support, having previously managed Worcestershire’s Growth Hub, Worcestershire Business Central.
Alex Price, PR, Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator
Alex’s role as PR, Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator is to assist with raising the profile and reputation of Worcestershire as a connected, creative and dynamic location on a national, regional and local level. Alex also helps to run the social media accounts for the Worcestershire LEP and partners, maintain the LEP’s websites and also help out wherever else he can in marketing.
Alex has graduated from John Kyrle High School Sixth Form with A levels in ICT, Business Studies and Psychology. Whilst working for the Worcestershire LEP, Alex has completed his Level 3 Diploma in Digital Marketing and is now planning to continue his learning with a degree apprenticeship.
Jennie Humphries, Research and Analysis Lead
Jennie leads on research and analysis for Worcestershire LEP and is responsible for developing the evidence base to inform strategy development and monitoring the outcomes of LEP funded projects.
Jennie has significant experience of research and analysis in the public sector having worked previously as a government economist at the Department for Work and Pensions on issues including welfare reform, employment policy and child poverty. Jennie has a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc in Economics and Public Policy from Bristol University.