Paul Coles

Paul Coles

Chief Executive Officer

Paul is a strategic leader and thinker, who over the last few years has built a portfolio career covering the commercial world; public and third sectors. He has a passion for innovation and for digital which he brings to bear when seeking to advance the South-West economy. 

Paul's biography

He has an extensive range of contacts across both the commercial and public sector built on a solid foundation of trust, passion, and delivery. Senior level stakeholder management has been a key attribute throughout his career. 

Paul has recently left BT after 31 years to expand his portfolio of interests and to also help people and businesses navigate through Covid. These interests include being Deputy Chair of the South West Business where Paul has focussed on governance; stakeholder management, innovation, and business development.

Andrew Searle

Andrew Searle

Head of Operations

Andrew works with Jo to support our growing network of members, principally responsible for managing key accounts. In addition, Andrew works for SWBC on a part-time, self-employed basis helping them to keep administrative and compliance costs to a minimum whilst offering a friendly efficient service to our customers and suppliers.

Andrew's biography

Andrew is an experienced accountant and director helping SME’s deliver results and stay compliant and runs his own business: origamigroup.co.uk.

Email: andrew.searle@swbc.co.uk

Jo Hatt

Jo Hatt

Membership Coordinator

Jo has over 25 years’ experience of high-level business admin and support roles, working within the financial, medical and accountancy sectors under various titles, i.e. Senior Executive Assistant, Medical Secretary and Senior Business Administrator.

Jo's biography

Jo has spent most of her working life in the South East of England, where her most recent position of some 13 years was with Deloitte LLP working within their Global Employers Services department, supporting Partner and Directors within the firm, but also developing the relationships with key stakeholders both internally and externally.  In February 2018, Jo relocated to the South West and after a brief sabbatical set up her own Virtual Assistant business.

Jo joined SWBC in May 2019 and is primarily responsible for member contact and for utilising her organisational skills to support the operations team with a wide range of admin tasks.

Email: jo.hatt@swbc.co.uk

Leah Watts

Leah Watts

Marketing and PR Manager

Leah Watts is a Junior Account Manager at award-winning PR & Marketing agency Astley Media. She is responsible for day to day digital marketing and PR activity across the South West Business Council account and plays a key role in the development and implementation of creative and strategic campaigns.

Leah's biography

Before Astley Media, Leah graduated from University of Reading with a BA Hons in English Literature before completing a Master’s degree at University of Exeter in English Literary Studies, achieving a high class Distinction. 

Email: leah.watts@swbc.co.uk