Speaker Information


Event Facilitator

Eric Hudson, Chief Executive

Eric has over 30 year’s business experience at senior management level.  Specialising in both Marketing and Manufacturing, with particular emphasis on Careerwear Clothing supplying numerous major companies in the UK including  British Airways & Homebase  and overseas, Euro-Disney, Paris &  Ciba Geigy, Italy.

Since leaving the Textile Industry in 2000 he has specialised in North West regional activites and business support services advising both North West/National / European Government on various business issues. He also is currently delivering the Regionplus North West information service.





LIverpool Roadshow Speakers are marked L*


Topic – Business Advice Service for SME's

Alistair McEwan ACA / CTA  –  Partner & Specialist Tax Planner

L* Liverpool Speaker

Alastair has over 30 years of experience in dealing with owner managed businesses and small to medium size companies with particular emphasis on tax planning, tax efficient profit extraction and exit route planning. He has unrivalled knowledge of current issues effecting business and advises companies based on their individual needs and specific sector conditions.

Alastair became partner in 1980 and has since become managing partner. He is a member of the ICAEW and Chartered Tax Institute and a former trustee of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.


Topic – Employment Law for SME's – pitfalls and short cuts explained

Sarah Evans, Associate Employment

Sarah Evans is Head of the Employment Law Department at Birchall Blackburn Solicitors with responsibility for a team of employment law advisers. 

Sarah qualified as a solicitor six years ago, and has steadily grown her practice specialising in advice and support for SME's all over the country, but learnt her trade in Warrington before heading to the bright lights of the M56 and M6, where Sarah can be found for at least 2 hours on most days considering how best to annoy and out manoeuvre Claimant Solicitors.

Sarah came to the law a little late, having done far too many exams including an Open University law degree whilst bringing up her young son, who is  now 16, 6 foot tall and sleepy.  She maintains that the 4 year Open University degree was the hardest she has ever worked, but it paid off nicely, not least when Sarah was asked to be ambassador for the course and got to drink gin in London with celebrity lawyers, and tread on Cherie Blair's foot whilst being photographed by equally swaying journalists.

Pragmatic, straight-talking, reliable and scared only of wasps, Sarah works hard for her clients, and recognises the commercial realities and challenges of running an SME in particular. 


Topic – Managing your relationship with the Bank

Chris Sharkey, North West Regional Director

Chris has been in Commercial and Corporate Banking since 1978, having worked originally at NatWest/RBS, where he fulfilled a number of Customer Relationship roles, before joining Santander in May 2009 to become the inaugural North West Regional Director for this new addition to the UK banking scene. Always North West centric, Chris is well connected in Manchester, Liverpool, and the provinces, and his career has been split between serving the SME marketplace as well as the Larger Corporate sphere.  


Topic – Marketing on a Shoestring

Shirley O'Neill,

MCIM, MA Marketing, BA (Hons)

L* Liverpool Speaker

Over the past 15 years, Shirley-Ann has held a number of senior marketing positions with SMEs and multi-national organisations. Specialist areas are: Brand & Sales Strategy (British Airways, Lime Management), Product Strategy (Hays Travel Group), Marketing Communications (Cardiff International Airport), Brand & Campaigns Management (University of Glamorgan). Over the past 6 months Shirley-Ann has been working on a consultancy basis in the North West with SME’s and entrepreneurs who require support with proven marketing solutions.

Shirley-Ann is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing 


Topic – Coaching and Mentoring in Challenging Times

Norman Denton, Group Leader

L* Liverpool Speaker

A highly experienced, Business Development and Relationship Management professional, Norman has been delivering business improvement solutions with the owners of small and medium sized businesses for over 15 years focusing on leadership development, finance and strategic planning.

His span of knowledge embraces all aspects of the business development spectrum – financial, operational, sales & marketing and business processes.

A very strong financial background is underpinned by his depth of all-round business experience.   Combined with his ability to objectively review a business, its leaders and market position ensures a high level of stakeholder satisfaction.

Norman believes that supporting business owners to bring a strategic focus to their activities, whilst developing their overall leadership skills to build customer relationships is vital if organisations are to achieve their objectives in these challenging times.

Norman is:

  • An Institute of Leadership & Management, Level 7 Certificate holder in Executive Coaching & Mentoring.
  • A SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative) Accredited Business Adviser.
  • A Law Society approved Lexcel Consultant.
  • A Member of the Chartered Management Institute & Institute of Consultants.
  • A holder of a Banking Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Banking.