Meet The Team

The Team

No description available

Jo Haigh



Since 1989 Jo has bought and sold approximately 400 companies specialising in owner managed companies, in addition to selling three of her own companies and undertaking two personal MBOs. Throughout her career, Jo has held 40+ non-executive roles and is currently a Non-Executive Director and Chair for number of prestigious companies across England and the Isle of Man. Jo is also a regular presenter on corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions for prestigious organisations across the UK and Europe.

Key Highlights:

  • Included in the 2023 Power List, Northern Power Women Awards (2023)
  • Non-Executive Director of the Year finalist in the category of Private/Private Equity Backed, in association with Peel Hunt and supported by The Sunday Times (2021)
  • Winner of the Non-Exec Director of the Year, IoD Yorkshire & North East Regional Awards (2018)
  • Nominated for Business Woman of the Year, The Yorkshire Choice Awards (2018)
  • Finalist in Business Services category, First Women Awards (2017)
  • Announced as one of Academy for Chief Executives top 22 speakers, landing her on the “Cloud Nine League Table” (2017)
  • fds winners of Most Innovative UK Deal Negotiator & AI One to Watch in Corporate Finance, Acquisition International (2016)
  • Shortlisted for Mentor of the Year, First Women Awards (2016)
  • Shortlisted for Inspiring Leader of the Year, Forward Ladies (2015)
  • Winners of Super Staff Award, BIY Inspired Awards (2015)
  • Shortlisted for SME Business of the Year, Forward Ladies (2015)
  • Winner in the CBI First Women in Business Services Award (2014)
  • Finalist of the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards (2013)
  • Winner of The Sunday Times NED of the Year Award in association with Peel Hunt (2013)
  • Finalist in the Business Advisor Category, IoD Awards (2011)

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Break her big toe by dropping a wine bottle on it!
  • Least likely to: Go camping
No description available

Poonam Kaur

BSC (Hons) FCCA Cert IoD


Poonam, a qualified accountant, manages all projects, transactions and operational issues on a day to day basis. She is also a huge supporter of, and contributor to, the strategic plans of the company. Poonam has been the lead negotiator on many deals and has successfully conducted a number of transactions of varying sizes.

Key Highlights:

  • Winner of Leeds City Region Leader, The Northern Leadership Awards (2023)
  • Shortlisted for Leeds City Region Leader, Diversity & Inclusion Leader and Professional Services Leader, The Northern Leadership Awards (2023)
  • Nominated for Levelling Up Leader, Northern Power Women Awards (2023)
  • Vice Chair of CAPA College (2021)
  • Shortlisted for Corporate/Inspiring Leader in FL Leadership Summit & Awards (2021)
  • Finalist for Director of the Year, Small – Medium Business, IoD Yorkshire & North East Awards (2020 & 2019)
  • Chair of IoD West Yorkshire (2020)
  • Shortlisted for Business Advocate of the Year, The British Business Awards (2019)
  • Winner of Mentor of the Year, Forward Ladies Yorkshire, North East and Scotland Region (2019)
  • Shortlisted for Young Director, Yorkshire Business Leaders Awards (2017)
  • Shortlisted in the Rising Star Category, Forward Ladies (2016)
  • Achieved a Distinction in the IoD Certificate in Company Direction Examination (2016)
  • Re-elected Treasurer of Wakefield First Bondholders Steering Group (2016)
  • Shortlisted in the Rising Star category, Forward Ladies (2015)
  • Insider's 42 under forty two (2015)
  • Treasurer of Wakefield First Bondholders Steering Group (2014)

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Say it as it is
  • Least likely to: Finish a cup of tea
No description available

Alan Marks


Advisory Committee Member

Alan has over 25 years’ experience of advising owner directors and entrepreneurs in both financial and business services matters. Alan has personally been involved in the building and selling of financial services companies and has also worked with many professional advisors to assist them and their clients. Alan currently holds a number of Non-Executive roles with various companies from Technology companies through to a specialist Consultancy business which works with Primary Health Trusts.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Organise a meeting on a golf course
  • Least likely to: Leave his dog at home
No description available

Graham Shiers


With a career spanning both retail, manufacturing and the legal sector, Graham has built a solid reputation for encouraging entrepreneurial values, emergent talent and stimulating business development and growth alongside funding services, acting as a trusted source of introduction between new and existing business contacts. He also has over 20 years’ experience of organising and delivering effective and aspirational corporate networking events in locations from Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield to London, Nottingham, Birmingham and as far as New Jersey, USA.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Be watching Leeds Rhinos or F1
  • Least likely to: Take up cycling
No description available

Pollyanna Hall


An experienced and dedicated marketing leader, with a breadth of applied knowledge, gathered at FTSE 100 level, and working with and within award-winning creative agencies. Pollyanna is a specialist in attraction, leisure, loyalty and tourism marketing, having led an abundance of above and below the line activity, including advertising, digital, PR, promotions, trade and ECRM. Pollyanna is an expert in the following fields; B2B marketing, B2C marketing, local marketing activities and crowdfunding raises.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Be awake by 5:30 (two children under 3!)
  • Least likely to: Watch any sport
No description available

Rachel Gill

BA (Hons)

Commercial Manager

Alongside Poonam, Rachel manages the team and corporate finance projects. Rachel also oversees and facilitates the marketing requirements for fds and leads the creative process, design and preparation of all internal and external marketing collateral and business documents.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Be planning/organising something
  • Least likely to: Turn into an adrenaline junkie
No description available

Gemma Dickinson

BA (Hons)

Practice Manager

Gemma has a degree in Hospitality and Business Management, and 13 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, she has extensive skill in client management and customer service. Gemma is responsible for the day-to-day management of the business and oversees all aspects of director-level training services.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Be out walking with her family
  • Least likely to: Cook dinner!
No description available

Jimmy Brooke


Corporate Finance Executive

With a background in finance and accounts, Jimmy provides essential support on the financial aspects of projects, producing company valuations and working alongside the team across all projects on a daily basis.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Be at home relaxing with his dog and two cats
  • Least likely to: Be watching football
No description available

Shamsa Iqbal

Project Assistant

Shamsa assists on a daily basis with all ongoing projects, performing administrative tasks, client communications and financial support where relevant.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Never say no
  • Least likely to: Go walking
Laura Jackson fds Director Services

Laura Jackson

Project Assistant

Benefiting from extensive customer service experience, Laura provides daily assistance on ongoing projects, performing administrative tasks and client communications where relevant.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Eat her lunch before lunchtime
  • Least likely to: Go to the gym
Sam Bland fds Director Services

Sam Bland


Project Assistant

With a Master’s in English Literature, Sam supports the team with all ongoing projects, assisting with client communications and administrative tasks as relevant.

Fun Facts:

  • Most likely to: Have a hot pork sandwich for lunch
  • Least likely to: Get through her pile of books

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