30 episodes

CEO Stories is a podcast series that delves into the stories behind some of the Greater Birmingham region's leading or up-and-coming CEOs. The series is hosted by Henrietta Brealey, who in 2021 became the youngest CEO in the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce's 208-year history. Listen to find out what makes some of the region's finest leaders tick, who inspired them and what advice they would offer to aspiring CEOs. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is the West Midlands' leading business support organisation, having acted as the voice of local business since 1813.

CEO Stories Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

CEO Stories is a podcast series that delves into the stories behind some of the Greater Birmingham region's leading or up-and-coming CEOs. The series is hosted by Henrietta Brealey, who in 2021 became the youngest CEO in the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce's 208-year history. Listen to find out what makes some of the region's finest leaders tick, who inspired them and what advice they would offer to aspiring CEOs. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is the West Midlands' leading business support organisation, having acted as the voice of local business since 1813.

    Harvir Sahota | From sweet beginnings to catering for star names

    Harvir Sahota | From sweet beginnings to catering for star names

    Mahirs Experience chief executive Harvir Sahota reveals his recipe for success – including how he scaled up his family’s Indian sweet shop business into an award-winning catering and events company that has been used by a string of illustrious names.

    Harvir and Henrietta discuss the firm’s evolution over the years and how his leadership has been shaped by the many different roles he has held within the organisation.

    We also learn about how Harvir and the Mahirs team used the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity for a reset.

    And Harvir reveals some of the A-list clients who have utilised the firm’s services – from spiritual leaders to elite sportspeople and huge stars from Bollywood.



    Key topics:

    · The origins of Mahirs Experience

    · Harvir’s first steps into the business as a teenager

    · His approach to processes and operations

    · How Harvir became CEO of the business

    · Leading the company through the pandemic

    · Career highlights and Mahirs’ illustrious clients

    · The famous name Harvir would most like to cater for

    · The role of networking in Mahirs’ success

    · Mahirs’ future scale-up and expansion plans

    · The firm’s community and charity work

    · The entrepreneurs who have inspired Harvir



    More about Mahirs Experience:Website: https://mahirs.com/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahirsexperience/X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/MahirsExpLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mahirs-experience/TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@experiencemahirs



    Connect with us: Website: https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/grbhamchambers X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/GrBhamChambers Email: press@birmingham-chamber.com



    Connect with Henrietta: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/henrietta-brealey-86263b33/ X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/HenriettaLB



    About Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce:
    We’re here to unleash the potential of Greater Birmingham’s businesses.
    Whether it’s connections with our extensive network, inspiring events that spark new ideas, expert led services, regional insight, or opportunities to build and raise your profile, we’re here to give your business the tools to reach your full potential.  We are unwavering champions and the leading voice for Greater Birmingham’s businesses. We’re in it for the long haul – we've been putting the us in business since 1813.  At every stage of your business’ journey, we’re here for you. Our dedicated team specialise in empowering businesses to build their networks, access opportunities and learn from best practice locally, and trade internationally. We love local, and we go global. We are a vibrant community of forward-thinking organisations, that are proud to be shaping the future of Greater Birmingham - together.


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    • 31 min
    Paul Faulkner and Sam Fletcher-Goodwin | Turning the Kids’ Village dream into reality

    Paul Faulkner and Sam Fletcher-Goodwin | Turning the Kids’ Village dream into reality

    Since overcoming cancer as a child, Sam Fletcher-Goodwin and her family have dreamed of creating the UK’s inaugural holiday village for critically ill children.

    Now, with support from a top team spearheaded by former Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner, plans are gathering pace to build the Kids’ Village in the picturesque Staffordshire countryside.

    Interim CEO Paul and founder Sam talk to Henrietta about the transformational project – including the inspiration behind Sam’s idea and ambitious plans to bring her vision to life through a £5 million fundraising drive.

    We also hear from our guests about their respective professional backgrounds.
    Sam has forged a successful career as a radio presenter and producer, while Paul's CV includes banking, football (as CEO of Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest), working within a family office in the United States and leading the Chamber from 2015 to 2021.   

    Key topics:
    · What inspired Sam and her family to want to build Kids’ Village?
    · Why did Paul feel compelled to join the charity as interim chief executive?
    · How does the charity intend to raise the £5 million needed to build the Kids’ Village?
    · At what stage are plans to recruit a permanent CEO and what type of individual are they seeking?
    · How does Kids’ Village hope to engage with the West Midlands business community?
    · Why did Paul swap affluent American seaside community The Hamptons for Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham?
    · Why did Sam decide to pursue a career in broadcasting and radio production?
    · What has surprised Sam most since embarking on the ambitious Kids’ Village project?
    · What is Paul’s biggest piece of advice for aspiring or up-and-coming business leaders?
     
    More about Kids’ Village:
    Website: https://www.kidsvillage.org.uk

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kidsvillagecharity/

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/kidsvillagecharity/

    X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/TheKidsVillage

    Connect with us:

    Website: https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/grbhamchambers

    X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/GrBhamChambers
    Email: press@birmingham-chamber.com

    Connect with Henrietta:

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/henrietta-brealey-86263b33/

    X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/HenriettaLB

    About Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce:

    We’re here to unleash the potential of Greater Birmingham’s businesses.

    Whether it’s connections with our extensive network, inspiring events that spark new ideas, expert led services, regional insight, or opportunities to build and raise your profile, we’re here to give your business the tools to reach your full potential. 

    We are unwavering champions and the leading voice for Greater Birmingham’s businesses. We’re in it for the long haul – we've been putting the us in business since 1813. 

    At every stage of your business’ journey, we’re here for you. Our dedicated team specialise in empowering businesses to build their networks, access opportunities and learn from best practice locally, and trade internationally.

    We love local, and we go global. 

    We are a vibrant community of forward-thinking organisations, that are proud to be shaping the future of Greater Birmingham - together.




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    Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/ceo-stories/message

    • 47 min
    Zoe Bennett | How a Motivational Queen turned trauma into triumph

    Zoe Bennett | How a Motivational Queen turned trauma into triumph

    Zoe Bennett’s life changed forever when her father Errol was brutally murdered in 2011.

    After a long battle to achieve justice, she channelled her experiences into forging a successful career as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author and founder of the Multicultural Business and Community Champion (MBCC) Awards.  

    In this episode of CEO Stories, the self-styled Motivational Queen shares her remarkable story with Henrietta Brealey – from her early roles working in market stalls and kebab shops, to overcoming traumas and setbacks to make it on her own in the
    world of business.

    Zoe, who is managing director of her own firm Training Personified, also tells us about the recognition she received for inspiring disadvantaged individuals and shares her
    top tips for networking.



    Key topics:


    How did Zoe take positives from something as traumatic as her father's murder?
    What inspired Zoe to start the MBCC Awards?
    How did she find the experience of starting up on her own in business?
    Why did she choose to focus on working with 'hard to reach' groups?
    What does Zoe wish people and businesses understood better about the people she supports?
    What are the highlights of her career as a motivational speaker?
    What are her top networking tips and what are the common mistakes she sees people make?



    More information on Zoe Bennett and Training Personified:

    https://motivationalqueen.com/

    https://trainingpersonified.com/



    Connect with us:

    Website: ⁠https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com⁠

    LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/company/grbhamchambers⁠

    X (formerly Twitter): ⁠https://twitter.com/GrBhamChambers⁠

    Email: press@birmingham-chamber.com



    Connect with Henrietta:

    LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/in/henrietta-brealey-86263b33/⁠

    X (formerly Twitter): ⁠https://twitter.com/HenriettaLB⁠



    About Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce:

    We’re here to unleash the potential of Greater Birmingham’s businesses.

    Whether it’s connections with our extensive network, inspiring events that spark new ideas, expert led services, regional insight, or opportunities to build and raise your profile, we’re here to give your business the tools to reach your full potential. 

    We are unwavering champions and the leading voice for Greater Birmingham’s businesses. We’re in it for the long haul – we've been putting the us in business since 1813. 

    At every stage of your business’ journey, we’re here for you. Our dedicated team specialise in empowering businesses to build their networks, access opportunities and learn from best practice locally, and trade internationally.
    We love local, and we go global. 

    We are a vibrant community of forward-thinking organisations, that are proud to be shaping the future of Greater Birmingham - together.

    About this episode:

    CEO Stories delves into some of the most challenging experiences our guests have faced, as well as their successes.

    This episode contains references to violent crime and mental health challenges.


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    • 34 min
    Deborah Cadman | Leading Birmingham City Council through crisis

    Deborah Cadman | Leading Birmingham City Council through crisis

    Season three of CEO Stories begins with Henrietta Brealey talking to a chief executive who has one of the toughest jobs in local government.

    Birmingham born and bred, Deborah Cadman has enjoyed a distinguished career in local government – including stints leading the West Midlands Combined Authority, Suffolk County Council and St Edmudsbury Borough Council.

    Her current role, leading Europe’s largest local authority in her home city, has proved to be the toughest to date – after Birmingham was issued with Section 114 notice in 2023.

    In this episode, Deborah discusses the challenge of leading through such a critical time in the council’s history.

    We also learn about various other aspects of her life and career – including her memories of growing up in Birmingham, her various roles in government through to her favourite things about her home city and some the individuals who have influenced her along the way.



    Key topics:


    What attracted Deborah to a career in public service?
    How would she describe the challenges facing Birmingham City Council?
    How does she handle the pressure of leading the council through those challenges?
    How does she switch off from the pressures of her job?
    Does she still see a legacy from the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
    Are there any individuals or leaders who inspired her through her career?
    What is Deborah's favourite thing to do in Birmingham?
    What's her biggest piece of advice to aspiring or up-and-coming CEOs?



    Connect with us:

    Website: ⁠https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com⁠

    LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/company/grbhamchambers⁠

    X (formerly Twitter): ⁠https://twitter.com/GrBhamChambers⁠

    Email: press@birmingham-chamber.com



    Connect with Henrietta:

    LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/in/henrietta-brealey-86263b33/⁠

    X (formerly Twitter): ⁠https://twitter.com/HenriettaLB⁠



    About Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce:

    We’re here to unleash the potential of Greater Birmingham’s businesses.

    Whether it’s connections with our extensive network, inspiring events that spark new ideas, expert led services, regional insight, or opportunities to build and raise your profile, we’re here to give your business the tools to reach your full potential. 

    We are unwavering champions and the leading voice for Greater Birmingham’s businesses. We’re in it for the long haul – we've been putting the us in business since 1813. 

    At every stage of your business’ journey, we’re here for you. Our dedicated team specialise in empowering businesses to build their networks, access opportunities and learn from best practice locally, and trade internationally.
    We love local, and we go global. 

    We are a vibrant community of forward-thinking organisations, that are proud to be shaping the future of Greater Birmingham - together.


    ---

    Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/ceo-stories/message

    • 49 min
    Nasir Awan | How faith, family and determination helped me survive in business

    Nasir Awan | How faith, family and determination helped me survive in business

    When Nasir Awan came to England in the 1960s, he could speak virtually no English.

    Today, Nasir is one of the West Midlands’ most successful business figures – and, on 17 November, 2023, he will become president of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

    In the final episode of CEO Stories season two, the boss of international wholesale firm Awan Marketing talks Henrietta Brealey through an eventful life and career – from humble beginnings in Pakistan to a career in business and
    charity that makes phenomenal reading.

    Nasir shares some of the highs and lows experienced along the way – including a tumultuous time in the mid-2000s when he came close to losing
    everything.

    It was a test of faith at “a time where I was emotionally at my very lowest.”

    However, that faith and determination drove Nasir on to successfully rebuild his business which evolved into one of the UK’s largest wholesale firms.  

    We also hear about his charitable work – including an impactful role as chair of Islamic Relief – and his plans as president of the Chamber when he succeeds Deb Leary this month.

    CEO Stories will return for a third season in early 2024.

    Find out more about Nasir Awan:https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-a-j-nasir-awan-mbe-dl-a6779726/https://twitter.com/Nasirawanuk

    Find out more about Awan Marketing:https://www.awanplc.co.uk/https://twitter.com/awanmarketing_https://www.facebook.com/awan.plc/https://www.instagram.com/awanplc/


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    • 48 min
    Eman Al-Hillawi | Career pivots, driving change and learning to fly  

    Eman Al-Hillawi | Career pivots, driving change and learning to fly  

    Eman Al-Hillawi is passionate about driving change.

    The Entec-Si CEO has experienced several transformational moments of her own – including moving to the UK from Iraq as a teenager, switching careers from science to technology and meeting her business partner Peter Marsden, with whom she created the Birmingham-based consultancy.

    In this episode of CEO Stories, Eman talks to Henrietta Brealey about a successful career which has been built on people, relationships and creating great teams.

    We also hear about Eman’s role in bringing a ‘wow’ factor to the Library of Birmingham and the two unusual hobbies that keep her busy away from the business environment.






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    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

Mxsandy12 ,

Awesome ceo pod!

Love this show!!!!

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