Lara started out in business in 1991 founding Pacific Direct, the leading supplier of luxury licensed brand toiletries to hotels in the UK. She then proceeded to grow the business worldwide, and it now has manufacturing in China and the Czach Republic, 9 international sales offices and delivery to more than 110 countries. She is also a founder member of the Young Entrepreneurs organisation, and a three times finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Lara actively plays a role in all her investments including Companyshortcuts aiming to help professionalise the approach to selling in GB. Her interests are in personal care companies, sports and leisure business and she is focused on ambitious fast global growth.
Lara is also a successful triathlete, average wife, and mother of three daughters. Her latest venture, dryrobe, offers a unique outdoor robe - to get changed and stay warm, specially designed for active sports people and fitness enthusiasts. Somehow alongside all this she has found time to write a book, called 'More Balls than Most'.
Steffan started out in investment banking, but soon shifted his focus to Communications and PR and recently joined Newgate Communications Plc as Group MD. Prior to this, Steffan’s 20 year career in communications included founding Capital MSL, which he ran for twelve years before selling it, and being a Partner at Finsbury, during which time he provided communications counsel to enterprises, organisations and governments.
Aside from the day job, Steffan is an NED of Paperhat Group, a Trustee of Lincoln College Oxford, the Vice Chairman of the PRCA, a member of the Development Committee at the Legatum Institute, a Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, a member of Swansea University's Advisory Development Board, and is a Special Adviser at the Iraq Britain Business Council. When he has spare time he also provides communications advice to a number of charities pro bono and is a frequent guest speaker on communications.
Mary Anne studied chemistry at Oxford University before starting a 15 year career in investment banking in the City which took her from M&A at Goldman Sachs and Capital Markets at Bankers Trust to being Managing Director at Paribas. Since 1998, she has worked on the commercialisation of innovation and developed strategies to bring new products and services to market. Currently as Founder of Science to Business, she is an advisor to MedTech clients in the healthcare sector on their business and funding propositions.
Mary Anne was elected by BioBeat 2014 as one of 50 female leaders in UK Life Sciences. She was also nominated to be a member of the Mercia Technologies Investment Advisory Board for the Life Sciences sector, and is a Non-Executive Director of Albion Technology & General VCT PLC.
Her charitable activities include being Trustee and Chair of BalletBoyz, the acclaimed contemporary dance company; Chair of Deccan Heritage Foundation, a charity she co-founded for the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage in the Deccan region of India; and is a member of the Development Board of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford.
Steffan Williams, CEO of Newgate Communications, Pluralist