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Up North Speakers

Up North will be back on 13th June 2024 where we will hear from 30 speakers across two stages and we’ve been busy curating a speaker line-up like no other. We’ll be joined by speakers from Refy, Lounge, Luxe Collective, TikTok Shop, Swoop Finance, Google and more.

Meet the speakers

Ben Gallagher

Co-Founder – Luxe Collective


Ben Gallagher, a 23 year-old entrepreneur, is the co-founder of Luxe Collective, a fashion business that sells luxury goods for less than comparable brands. Ben is on a mission to build the biggest brand in the pre-loved market in the UK and his current main focus for the company is scaling their teams/operations and increasing the awareness of what they offer through marketing avenues such as organic and paid social content, emails, events and personal branding.

Session: How to properly understand social media in less than 30 minutes
Ben will take us through the ins and outs of social media, explain his business journey to date and then we’ll open up the floor for an audience Q&A where you can ask all social, business and entrepreneurship questions.

Sonia Hussain

Brand Manager – Lounge


Sonia is an experienced brand marketer with a background in Organic & Paid Social, Campaign Management, PR, and Influencer Marketing – currently Brand Manager at Lounge, previously Bravissimo. Passionate about building purpose-driven brands, growing and nurturing communities that feel like they belong, and creating beautiful brand moments. Sonia’s career kicked off working in organic social where she loved the buzz of creating content, seeing how it landed, and being able to connect with customers instantly. Moving on to Bravissimo she honed her craft in social, increasing their Instagram following by 128%, working with influencers and brand partners including the Oti X Bravissimo collection. Now, supporting women worldwide to feel comfortable and sexy at Lounge by driving forward campaigns, bringing them to life through production, and leading the PR strategy.

Session: Why brand building matters now more than ever
In an ever changing digital landscape more and more brands are being popping up it’s more important than ever to stand out in saturated markets, we’ll take a look into how you can build your brand for the long term rather than the short term while remaining budget consicous.

Key takeaways:

  • Kick starting a career in brand marketing
  • Brand building in a digital landscape
  • Nurturing a community

Elle-Louise Wilmot

Founder – Truly Twenties


Elle is the proud founder of Truly Twenties, a community crafted to support individuals navigating the rollercoaster ride of their twenties. In 2021 she successfully secured a coveted spot on TikTok’s first ever graduate program. Fast forward to 2023, and she left the company deciding to redirect her focus toward nurturing her own venture and deepening her expertise in social media. Elle’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of social media. She’s harnessed social media platforms as powerful tools for both professional growth and career acceleration. Reflecting on her trajectory, she wholeheartedly believes that without leveraging social media in the ways she did, she would be five years behind my current position, both in terms of opportunities and knowledge

Session: How you can elevate social media through community and connection

Jimmy Rippon

Global Head of Search – Swoop Finance


Jimmy is a search specialist working in digital for a decade across all marketing disciplines, with a particular focus on SEO and SEM. After earning his stripes in a number of startups in the UK, Germany, and Australia, as well as consulting to corporations like Volkswagen and Diageo, Jimmy now heads up Swoop’s global search function, empowering SMEs to make informed and confident financial decisions.

Session: Scaling SEO internationally: 6 mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to

Embarking on any international SEO expansion programme can be daunting; where do you start? What do you prioritise? Learn from my many failings and learnings expanding scaleups into multiple markets and get an idea of how to approach your own international SEO journey. Understand why long-term planning is key, why assumptions can be disastrous, and how to gain a competitive advantage against your rivals.

Broghan Smith

Fashion Retail Key Account Lead – TikTok Shop


Broghan is an award-winning digital sales expert delivering success across Key Account Fashion Retailers for TikTok Shop. He’s instrumental in shaping and developing TikTok Shop as a platform as they look to ignite social commerce and lead into a space of true innovation and excitement within the global ecommerce market.

Session: An introduction to TikTok Shop

David White

Content Marketing Director – connective3


David has led PR and outreach strategies for some of the globe’s biggest brands. With a background in business management and marketing, David has a deep understanding of the wider marketing mix and how this contributes to our clients’ bottom line.

Session: The New Era of Link Building: Navigating the ‘Messy Middle’ with Digital PR

Isa Lavahun

Freelance Search Strategist – Lavly Ltd


Isa is a seasoned search strategist with over 15 years of experience in all things off-page SEO. With a diverse background spanning beauty, fashion, food, travel, and lifestyle sectors, Isa has consistently crafted data-driven PR strategies that elevate brand awareness and engagement. Isa’s expertise lies in integrating PR narratives with SEO objectives, ensuring that stories resonate with audiences to dominate search results. Passionate about empowering PR professionals to harness the power of SEO, Isa is dedicated to bridging the gap between these two disciplines.

Session: The future of PR: Why bridging the gap between PR and SEO is the only way forward for PR professionals
The lines between PR and SEO are blurring. SEOs are increasingly winning PR briefs by leveraging data and content to secure high-value placements. In this talk, I will explore the merging of PR and SEO, highlighting why SEO specialists are increasingly taking ‘PR’ business. I’ll uncover the hidden SEO potential using PR tactics and discuss how to identify missed opportunities. I’ll also offer insights into strategies for converting PR initiatives into successful link-building campaigns.

Key Takeaways:
1. Learn how to transition into using SEO-driven PR strategies.
2. Find hidden link building opportunities using PR skillsets.
3. Track the SEO impact of your PR to show real value.

Rosa Mitchell

Business Director – connective3


With over ten years’ experience in digital PR and content creation, as Business Director, Rosa oversees connective3’s Manchester office, managing a large team of creative professionals. In her career, Rosa has worked across a variety of different projects, from stand-alone campaigns to long-term strategic roadmaps, for brands including Nike, Manchester Metropolitan University, Stena Line, and Ann Summers. She combines her analytical skills with her love of creativity to create concepts that work for many industries, including e-commerce, finance, law, and travel.

Session: Rosa will be taking part and hosting our women in marketing panel

Janis Thomas

Managing Director – Look Fabulous Forever


Janis is an expert in marketing, ecommerce and customer experience. She’s grown diverse ecommerce and subscription businesses from Birchbox to Playboy. She has held senior roles across ecommerce, digital media and entertainment. She is now Managing Director at Look Fabulous Forever, the innovative DTC cosmetics and skincare brand designed to meet the needs of older women.

Session: The value of older consumers in ecommerce
More brands are talking about diversity, but how many still focus on millennials and Gen Z? Over 65s are the fastest growing customer group in ecommerce and many have a more secure income than their younger counterparts. Tricia Cusden launched Look Fabulous Forever to meet the needs of the older women that so much of the beauty industry overlooks. Janis covers:

• Why you should be thinking about inclusivity rather than exclusivity
• You are not your customer: overcoming your biases
• How to understand your customer and leverage that insight

Ella Wright

Social Media and Content Manager, Neom Organics


Ella is an experienced Social Media & Content Manager at NEOM who prides herself in building global, engaged communities online. Her experience has involved working alongside esteemed brands such as Morrisons, Hisense, Mamas & Papas and more recently entering the world of wellbeing with NEOM, to deliver social-first strategies that connect audiences in the millions. She combines her love of creativity and content creation with her analytical skills to deliver consistent audience and engagement growth for the brands she works with. Ella has also recently judged at the Northern Ireland Social Media Awards on best use of social media in a start-up, analysing audience engagement, multi-platform strategy and content quality.
Ella will be on our Digital Bites track covering: You’ve been told you need UGC for social? Here’s where to start

Charlotte Geoghegan

Head of Brand Marketing – Refy


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Luciana Beker

Strategic Partnerships Manager – Google


Luciana Beker is a Strategic Partnerships Manager at Google, where she partners with top UK media agencies to drive digital transformation and accelerate their business growth. With 7+ years experience at Google, she has worked across various Sales and Marketing programs in Argentina and Ireland, nurturing long-term commercial relationships with agencies and direct clients.

Session: Put Google AI to Work for You

Marketing is at an inflection point, with the acceleration of AI and the departure of third-party cookies this year. While our core role as marketers is the same, the way we do it is changing. Let’s talk about how to Put Google AI to Work for You to drive profitable growth for your business. Reach the right customers at the right time, with unprecedented scale and effectiveness.

Key take-aways:

  • Measurement: Measure and prove success, in a privacy-first way.
  • Media: Reach the right customers at the right time, with unprecedented scale and effectiveness.
  • Creative: Build relevant creative at scale and speed.

Andy Beckwith

Head of Design – Tall


Andy enjoys the juggle between being a designer and a dad. With 15 years of experience, he feels fortunate to earn a living by trying to create wonderful digital experiences for people to enjoy while constantly pursuing opportunities to become a better craftsman.

Session: Brand beyond the buzz
How do the world’s most iconic brands consistently live and breathe their identity beyond the initial buzz of a launch or rebrand?

We’ll share how our experience working with brands like LEGO showed us the importance of embedding a brand’s core values into every interaction.

Katie Taylor-Thompson

Managing Director – Katie Lingo


Katie Taylor-Thompson runs Katie Lingo, an outsourced content marketing service for agencies and small businesses. Katie’s background is in journalism and digital marketing, having trained with the NCTJ and the CIM. Specialising in copywriting, blogging, press releases and SEO, she has worked with clients including HSBC, Reuters and Amazon. Katie is a regular speaker at marketing events such as BrightonSEO, Digital City Festival and Sheffield DM. She expanded the business in 2020 to offer data visualisation and reporting in addition to writing services. Outside of her professional life, Katie loves to run marathons, speak Spanish and occasionally partake in karaoke!

Katie will be on our Digital Bites track covering: Content Goblins & SEO Heists: Who Can We Trust?

Itamar Blauer

Senior SEO Director – StudioHawk


Itamar Blauer is the senior SEO director at StudioHawk, a specialist SEO agency. He is an SEO trainer, speaker, author, and host of the “SEO Unplugged” podcast, sharing tips and case studies across various SEO topics. Catering to both SMEs and large enterprises within diverse B2B and B2C sectors, Itamar has a proven track record of increasing rankings with SEO that is UX-focused, data-backed, and creative.

Itamar will be on our Digital Bites track covering: From silos to synergy: How to unify digital marketing teams

Karim Adib

Digital PR & Outreach Specialist


Karim’s an Egyptian living in Sheffield with 4+ years working in Digital PR (although his family thinks he works for Google). He is particularly passionate about coming up with creative ideas, automating tedious tasks and delving deep into numbers and data. In his free time you can find him reading, lifting or explaining to people how much of a masterpiece Hamilton is.
Karim will be on our Digital Bites track covering: An 8-minute guide to ideation

Keira Penney

Head of Creative, Girls in Marketing


Keira Penney is the Head of Creative at Girls in Marketing. With over 4 years of marketing experience, Keira is an expert in creative and social media. Leveraging her profound understanding of trends and algorithmic shifts, Keira has significantly elevated Girls in Marketing’s LinkedIn presence, catapulting its followers from 90k to 300k within a two-year timeframe. Steering Girls in Marketing’s creative strategy, she has propelled The Girls in Marketing Podcast to an impressive audience of over 150,000+ listeners. Her achievements haven’t gone unnoticed, she received nominations for Young Apprentice of the Year by Insider Media and MiMa, alongside being recognised as a ‘Top Marketer to Follow.’ Outside of her role at Girls in Marketing, Keira invests time in growing her personal brand to over 35,000 followers and helps other people wanting to grow their online presence.
Session: Elevating every corner of your career with creativity

Mahmoud Nagiub

Agency Partner


Mahmoud works as a strategic Business Partner and a trusted advisor for a portfolio of independent agencies based in the UK. He has a proven track record in driving business growth and fostering strategic partnerships. In his role, he works closely with agencies to identify growth opportunities and develop tailored strategies that align with the agencies’ objectives.
Session: The evolution of short form video formats and the art of creative testing 
Key take-aways:
1. The rise of short video format and UGC content.
2. Why invest in creative?
3. Why measure creative effectiveness?

Tom Capper

Senior Search Scientist


Tom Capper is Senior Search Scientist at Moz and STAT. He leads a small team working on the data behind Moz and STAT’s products, including SERP parsing, metrics like Domain Authority and Brand Authority, keyword volume estimation, and more besides. In his past life Tom headed up the London consulting team at SEO agency Distilled, and before that he was the night shift cook at Little Chef Popham.
Session: The road to hell is paved with good intents
Each year, ranking for a keyword becomes increasingly labyrinthine. It’s less obvious which SERPs make sense for your site, what type of content is best suited when it does, or whether any features or positions are really even in play. In his talk, Tom will show you how to tease apart all this complexity to find targeted opportunities in your space.
Key take-aways:
  • Intent is nuanced, and many keywords can support multiple intents
  • The same keyword can have a different intent depending where it was searched from, and on what device
  • SERP features vary hugely by intent, and this should be reflected in your content strategy

Adam Blomberg

VP of Product and Partner Marketing


From product design to branding to product marketing – Adam has explored most aspects of marketing and the challenges that marketers face. At Funnel, Adam has built the product marketing and partner teams, creating a new go-to-market strategy for the business. Adam balances data expertise with culture and creativity, spending his spare time with an amateur theatre company.
Session: Why you need to trust your marketing data (and how to get there)

Will Brittain

Head of Paid Social


William has 7 years of experience in paid social and is a seasoned expert in helping clients navigate the daunting social content landscape. A true believer in creative-first social, William is here to provide strategic leadership on your paid content and ensure best-in-class account execution across paid social channels.
Session: Controlling the doom scroll: the evolving art of video hook testing

Azeem Ahmad

Global Digital Marketing Lead


Azeem will be on our Digital Bites track covering: Resilience in action – how to move forward during tough times

Eirini Theodoridou

Digital PR Manager


Joining connective3 in 2021 Eirini is an accomplished digital PR professional with a passion for bridging the gap between traditional PR and the dynamic digital landscape specialising in brand storytelling, campaign ideations, and delivery.
Session: One-hit Digital PR wonder trap: how to create long-term affairs with your content

Claire Stanley-Manock

Paid Media Director


Claire has over 17 years of digital marketing experience and knows how to navigate the complex paid media landscape to deliver incremental growth for clients. Campaigns are planned with strategic creativity and delivered with personalisation to generate cut through, emotion and results.
Session: The dark art of persuasion
In all walks of marketing, creativity and messaging are a major factors in performance. This session explores what makes us tick and how we can lean into this as marketers to make our product or service the chosen one, with actionable takeouts.

Up North is happening on 13th June at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, you can find out more here.