Our people

The Opportunity Area is managed by an independent board that brings together senior leaders from schools, communities, business, and central and local government. They bring their experience, insight and ambition to Stoke-on-Trent and its young people.

Our chairs

Dr. Carol Shanahan and Prof. Liz Barnes 

Carol Shanahan is the managing director, Synectics Solutions. Established in 1992, this data software business has outgrown 3 premises and employs over 350 staff. It won Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and reached The Times Top 100 for Export Growth. Carol works with local initiatives to improve outcomes for children in the most disadvantaged wards.

Liz Barnes is Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at Staffordshire University, a leading provider of higher and degree apprenticeships. She has built and maintained a strong network of employers across the city to ensure that the university provides vocationally relevant courses and supports routes into careers.

Partnership board members

 The meetings are also attended by Christine Quinn, West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner, Felicity Winter, head of delivery, and Chris Senior, area delivery lead, for the Department for Education; and by David O’Connell, programme manager.