Continuing our series of pen portraits of the 2022 finalists, this week we introduce you to:

Sheona Southern

“The last two years would test any business leader, but Sheona has been a ‘force majeure’ and has pushed against every barrier and challenge”

Sheona Southern is Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, which is charged with promoting Greater Manchester to a global audience as a place to visit, invest, meet, and study.

The tourism, hospitality and leisure sector has been severely disrupted by Covid-19, with 61% of its £9 billion annual economic value estimated to be lost in 2020 alone, with major consequences for businesses and the 100,000 people employed in the sector across Greater Manchester.

Sheona has had to lead her team through the initial Covid response, including supporting partner businesses through the barrage of rules and regulations, a complete wipe out of all major global events, sporting fixtures and conferences taking place across the city region and then through a cautious and stilted reopening of the city.

Additional business support included the creation of the Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Service and creation of the Covid-19 support and recovery plan as well as convening the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group

Undaunted by the dramatic effects of the past two years, Sheona and her team are making sure Greater Manchester is keeping its doors open for national and international visitors and events and has pledged to: “build consumer confidence and profile for Greater Manchester –to recover business to pre-Covid 19 levels by December 2022”.

With Sheona at the helm, we have no doubt it will.