The Management Team

The Volunteers that Steer the Chamber

Harrogate District Chamber is run by a Management Group – a team of members who have volunteered to help steer the chamber. They are all business owners and managers and come from a wide range of business sectors.

If you ever have a query about the chamber while you are at a meeting, you can speak to any of the Management Group members about it. They are often close to the welcome desk – or just ask someone on the welcome desk to point you in the right direction.

Executive Officers


Michael Webster - President (2016-2017)

Sign-A-Rama - Semi Retired

Michael has lived in Harrogate for over 30 years and for the last 15 has owned Signarama on Knaresborough Road, offering all types of signage throughout the area.

The company has exhibited at the Yorkshire Business Market since its inception and Michael has been on the organising committee in recent years. He has been a member of HC since 2005.


Mike Procter - Vice President (2016-17)

M Procter Opticians - Retired

Mike has had an opticians practice in Harrogate since 1997, moving to Parliament Street in 2006. He is from the Harrogate area and lives in Harrogate. He has owned practices in Manchester and Leeds city centres and towns in North and West Yorkshire and East Lancashire. The Harrogate practice is well known for clinical excellence and leading eyewear brands.

Mike is a Chamber Vice President and leads the Town Centre Focus Group.


Stephen Root - Vice President (2016-17)

Berwins Solicitors

Stephen lives in Harrogate and has three daughters and one step-daughter all brought up and educated  in the District.  Stephen is a director of Harrogate Solicitors, Berwins, and is a specialist Family Lawyer.  In the little spare time his family and business commitments allow he is a keen ornithologist and outdoors enthusiast.  Stephen is married to Judith, who also works at Berwins.


Steve Pepper - Vice President (2015-2016)

Steve Pepper Training Associates

Steve is the owner of Steve Pepper Training Associates who undertake a range of Social Media/Social Media Strategy and Safety/Food Safety training courses. He recently gained a distinction on his recent Social MediaDiploma course, which has helped build on his practical experience of using and training Social Media

Until he went self-employed in 2008, Steve had been a project manager for a number of organisations (ECHG, Rathbone, YMCA training) after leaving the NHS in 1994. He has been a member of the Harrogate Chamber for the last 7 years


Mike Shaw - Past President (2015-2016)

Mike Shaw Consultant

Mike Shaw joined General Accident in the claims department in 1971. Moved into claims for an insurance broker in Leeds in 1979. Ended up with Board responsibility for claims and personally looked after the larger fires/floods/burglaries and so on. He moved to Harrogate in 2001, ending up as Managing Director of a local insurance brokerage.

Mike is now happily retired from full time work but still helps a local broker with claims issues and is able to introduce businesses to this broker who can offer an independent review of insurance portfolios. He is also able to introduce new businesses to a broker who has experience of start-ups and the insurance pitfalls that lie in wait for the unwary.


John Garbutt - Hon. Treasurer (2016-2018)

DSC Chartered Accountants

John joined DSC Chartered Accountants in 2003 after graduating with an Honours degree in Economics at Durham a year earlier, and then travelling around the world. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2006 and following promotion to associate in 2010 became a director of DSC in April 2011. With a diverse range of clients, from medium size manufacturers to small service companies, and a wide range of expertise - John is able to offer the appropriate tax and planning advice on a corporate level and on a personal level too.

A DIY enthusiast, John has recently finished renovating his second property, which his wife has promised is their last! John also loves the mountains and is proud to have conquered Mont Blanc. Now a Father to young Annabelle and George, we’ve been informed that mountaineering is severely off limits… well until his children are big enough to hold an ice axe at least!

If you are interested in finding out more about how John can help you and/or your business please email directly to j.garbutt@dscca.com or phone DSC Chartered Accountants in Harrogate on 01423 560547.


Philip Edmondson - Hon. Legal Adviser (2016-2018)

McCormicks Solicitors

Philip is a Senior Associate at McCormicks Solicitors and is Head of Commercial Litigation services. He has received personal recommendations in the independent Legal 500 Guide for both Sports Law and Dispute Resolution and the Chambers UK Guide for Litigation.

Philip has significant experience with matters involving: breach of contract, sports disputes (arbitrations, tribunals and regulatory matters), insolvency (individual and corporate), partnership disputes, professional negligence (claimant and defendant), landlord and tenant, dilapidations claims, HM Land Registry and matters with multi jurisdictional elements.


Sandra Doherty - Chief Executive & Secretary (2016-2018)

Alexa House Guest House

Sandra has been the owner of Alexa House Guesthouse on Ripon Road since 2006, has worked as a business manager for over 30 years in several small businesses in both South and West Yorkshire. Sandra is also a Non-Executive Director of Visit Harrogate


Vicky Carr - PR Officer (2015-2017)

The Content Market

Vicky Carr spent five years working for Johnston Press in Yorkshire, including as Chief Reporter of the Harrogate Advertiser, before setting up as a freelance PR consultant and copywriter in 2012. As well as promoting Harrogate Chamber, she works with many businesses and organisations across Harrogate, and continues to write for a wide range of newspapers and magazines.


Management Group Members


Debra Forsythe-Conroy - Management Group Member (2016-18)

Harrogate College

Debra Forsythe-Conroy is Principal of Harrogate College. The college has been a long standing member of the Chamber of Commerce and members of the college’s senior management team regularly attend Chamber meetings. Debra has worked extensively across the sector with over 35 years’ experience including 10 years in senior management positions in large mixed economy colleges.


Michael Newby - Management Group Member (2015-17)

Visit Harrogate

Michael Newby is born and bred a Harrogatonian and was Mayor of the District from 2013 to 2014. On standing down from the Council he was appointed as Director of Visit Harrogate, the Destination Management Organisation for the Harrogate District. Visit Harrogate works with many visitor facing businesses and organisations not only in Harrogate town but also in Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon.


Paul Rawlinson - Management Group Member (2016-18)

Baltzersens Ltd

Former Army officer, Paul Rawlinson, is the owner of Baltzersen’s - a Scandinavian inspired cafe.   He also operates Norse, a co-located Nordic    influenced casual fine-dining restaurant.  He is a strong believer in collaboration between independent businesses to create a unique retail and hospitality offer for Harrogate.


Sam Oakes - Management Group Member (2015-17)

Design by GOBO

Sam is GOBO’s Creative Director looking after all things design, from print to web to professional photography. Having spent some time working abroad as a travel photographer and tour guide Sam came back to Harrogate to live, and set up business.


Steve Scarre - Management Group Member (2016-18)

CSS Mediation

‘I am the sole proprietor of CSS Mediation, which I set up to help resolve disputes, whether commercial, work-based or between private individuals. I am an accredited mediator and a member of the Civil Mediation Council, as well as being a professionally qualified accountant (FCMA, CGMA).’


Sue Kramer - Management Group Member (2015-17)

Crown Jewellers

Sue Kramer has lived and worked in Harrogate most of her life. In July 2000 she established Crown Jewellers of Harrogate, which focuses on providing quality jewellery, exceptional customer service and value. Previously, Sue enjoyed a lengthy career in the recruitment industry, ultimately managing a large local branch.

Sue is passionate about Harrogate and supporting the independent retail sector that makes it such a special visitor destination


Tara Stagman - Management Group Member (2015-17)

Ake & Humphris Wine & Beer

Moving from a career in banking, Tara joined local independent wine merchants, Ake & Humphris, soon after they opened in Harrogate and Collingham in 2010. With an accountancy background and a love of wine, she has found her perfect job! As company director, she arranged their 2015 merger with Yorkshire wine wholesaler Spen Valley Wines, and now oversees the business finances and marketing. She has been a member of the Harrogate Chamber of Commerce since 2012, providing a wine quiz by way of entertainment for the 2014 Annual Dinner and taking an active part in the Chamber website and membership focus groups.


Teresa Bowe - Management Group Member (2016-18)

CCF Acountancy

Teresa is the Managing Director of CCF Accountancy & Tax
Business Interests - We provide a full accountancy service, however have a keen interest in working with and supporting business owners and growing businesses from start up all the way through their business journey.