Jo joins marketing firm

MARKETING and promotions company GFM has welcomed Jo Baker as an account manager to its Colchester-based headquarters.

Ms Baker, 34, has an extensive background in contact centre operations having worked for NTL Cable and Wireless for 15 years. She also has experience of working for property company Hamptons International and most recently she helped to transform a contact centre in Romania.

Ms Baker said: “I’m really looking forward to taking GFM forward as a business and helping to develop the contact centre.

“There’s so much to this business, with marketing and promotions, the contact centre, handling and fulfillment and all the charity work that we do so it’s such a busy and exciting place to work.”

GFM business development director Laura Morrison welcomed her to the team. She said: “Jo has such an extensive and successful work history that I’m sure she will play a big part in the team as we look to expand the business.”

Colchester’s premier contemporary visual arts organisation, firstsite, has welcomed Kate Hawkins as its first head of marketing and communications.

She joins firstsite from the London office of the national housing and homeless charity, Shelter, where she developed commercial links with many household company names. Prior to that, she was a senior writer and editor for the consumer magazine, Which? and worked on the organisation’s creative strategies.

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Her appointment further expands the arts organisation’s professional strengths. With a remit to promote the world-class status of the new venue Kate will be developing firstsite’s relationships with both the business and creative communities in the eastern region and nationally.

She will be working closely with firstsite’s regional partners to support the proposed opening of the new firstsite venue in September 2011.

Ms Hawkins, aged 38 and who lives in Colchester, joins the firstsite team in their new temporary home on Short Wyre Street whilst work on the visual arts and conference venue nears completion.

She said: “firstsite is set to transform Colchester’s commercial and creative offer by making us a landmark destination for the arts and for business.

“This is an exciting time to be joining firstsite’s team with just over a year before the opening of the venue.

“I will be engaging with as broad a range of audiences as possible to break down the perceived elitism of contemporary art. I look forward to positioning firstsite as a lead organisation for the future success of Colchester and the region.”

Firstsite director Kath Wood said: “Kate’s appointment is a significant boost for firstsite and we are delighted to welcome her to the team.

“Kate brings with her exceptional experience in fundraising and outstanding communication skills to enable us to further build upon a key area for firstsite as we look forward to the opening of our permanent home.”

Chartered accountants and business advisers Larking Gowen has promoted Janice Dixon to senior manager at its new Colchester office.

She joined Larking Gowen in 2005 and specialises in private clients and owner managed businesses.

In her new role she will be overseeing the daily running of the private client team at the new office based on the High Street.

“I am delighted with my promotion to senior manager, along with the office move which has made it more convenient for our private local clients to call in and see us,” she said.

“I very much look forward to my added responsibility with the firm and contributing further to our development within Colchester.”

She lives in a village near Colchester with her husband Kevin and three children.

Development agency Choose Suffolk has made two new appointments to strengthen its team in its role supporting the county’s economic development and promotion as a premier destination for business and tourism.

Martin Lawton has been appointed as inward investment manager, with responsibility for delivering a comprehensive system of support to businesses relocating to or expanding within Suffolk.

In recent years, he has worked in Ipswich for Eastern Energy as head of research & intelligence and been involved in the launch of several new subsidiary energy companies in Suffolk and Norfolk. In 2001 he relocated to South Cumbria where he worked in a similar inward investment manager role to his current position at Choose Suffolk. Returning to East Anglia in 2006, he took up the post of regeneration manager at South Norfolk Council and, most recently, he has worked as the Norfolk & Suffolk area manager for the region’s knowledge transfer agency, i10. Prior to starting at Choose Suffolk, he completed a voluntary assignment with a leading international charity working with children and families affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

“I am keen to bring the experience I have gained in various other roles to developing Choose Suffolk’s inward investment function. The county has plenty to offer companies that are considering relocating, so I am looking forward to raising Suffolk’s profile as a great place to do business,” he said.

Chris Haigh joins Choose Suffolk as the new web/online assistant and will oversee the organisation’s online communications, including the corporate site, www.choosesuffolk.com and its consumer-facing tourism portal, www.visitsuffolk.com. He has a degree in history and media cultures from the University of Hertfordshire and ran his own web design business prior to working at Archant Suffolk in the media organisation’s advertising department.

“During my time at Archant Suffolk I was able to learn a vast amount about the media publishing industry, working with an expansive catalogue of media and a range of clients to meet their specific marketing needs,” he said.

“I’m thrilled to be an active member of the Choose Suffolk team where I can pursue my passion working with websites and overseeing the development of the new Visit Suffolk website, due to launch in the New Year.”

Chief executive Celia Hodson said: “It’s great to welcome two talented individuals to Choose Suffolk and their experience and knowledge will be crucial in supporting the diverse range of activities undertaken by our organisation within inward investment, economic development and tourism. They have joined Choose Suffolk to support our local economy.”

Lowestoft law firm Nicholsons has strengthened its team with the addition of property specialist Mark Rymarz.

Formerly an associate at Steeles Law, he has worked in both Norwich and London and brings a wealth of experience in dealing with all aspects of both commercial and residential real estate with a particular emphasis on acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant practice, development and property finance.

Mr Rymarz said: “I am delighted to be joining a such successful law firm with an impressive client base and a reputation that stretches across East Anglia and beyond.”