Burning Issue

Who in business has most inspired you?

Arlen Pettitt (pictured)
Knowledge hub manager
North East England Chamber of Commerce

It might be corny, but it’s more accurate than saying Steve Jobs – my dad Tony started his own business when I was eleven, so I can vividly remember the early months with him working from the dining table and then working for my pocket money by the time I was a teenager. He left that business ten years ago with the intention of winding down towards retirement, but instead he’s busier than ever. Wherever I’ve worked, I’ve tried to follow his lead – be driven, know your subject inside out and treat colleagues and clients with honesty and transparency.

Joanne Smith
Founder and CEO
FACT (Fighting All Cancers Together)

My inspirational people would be Fiona Macrea from Insurancewith and The Paxman family – Glenn, Richard and Claire of Paxman Coolers.

Following their own experiences of cancer, they set up businesses to improve the lives of others affected by cancer. Fiona worked in insurance and, after her own breast cancer journey, set up a company to provide realistic travel insurance for people with health conditions. Following the loss of his wife to breast cancer, Glenn Paxman invented a scalp cooler to help repent hair loss during chemotherapy – the business is now run by his children Richard and Claire. Paxman is now an international company making sure people have more choices around distressing hair loss as a side effect of chemotherapy.

Adrian Waddell
Chief executive
NE1

I’m a great believer in human endeavour and inventiveness so rather than picking an individual, I’m rooting for those people who simply have an idea and start a business around it – whether a corner shop, craft bakery or an amazing app in search of a global audience. Anyone who can issue an invoice on the back of something started by themselves gets my attention and admiration. Independent traders help provide the point of difference in towns and cities – it’s that sense of community we all want to belong to. To thrive we need to buy stuff from them. Let’s do that in Newcastle!

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