The Yorkshire Enterprise Network (YEN) is proud to announce that Sir Gary Verity and Judith Donovan CBE have joined us as our latest patrons.
Since his appointment as Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in October 2008, Sir Gary and his team have successfully raised the profile of Yorkshire at a national and international level. Working closely with tourism businesses, councils and other partners to grow the county’s visitor numbers and make Yorkshire a leading destination. The county now attracts over 200 million visitors a year, generating around £7 billion towards Yorkshire’s economy.
Sir Gary successfully led Yorkshire’s public and private sector businesses to back the winning bid to bring the Départ of the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014, an event that has since been recognised as the grandest ever Tour Grand Départ, generating £102 million towards the county’s economy. This success led to the Société du Tour de France awarding the county its very own three day international stage race, the Tour de Yorkshire, which enjoyed significant success in 2015.
2015 also saw Sir Gary was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Tourism and the Tour De France Grand Départ 2014. He was also named Yorkshire’s Man of the Year in 2014 and the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Directors Director of the Year 2014 picking up the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Directors Lifetime Achievement award. In recognition of his services to Yorkshire both the University of York and Sheffield Hallam University presented him with honorary doctorates.
Judith Donovan CBE is a highly experienced chair and non-executive director and currently chairs the Eden Project, she was on the boards of the Big Lottery Fund and Millennium Commission, where she chaired the resources and finance committees respectively, and holds other positions including Royal Mail and the University of Hull.
Judith is now keen to chair an organisation (major charity, private company, quango) where her commercial and governance expertise will ensure long-term viability and deliver results
A successful, entrepreneur, Judith founded a marketing and direct mail business which she grew and sold to her management team. She was recognised with a string of awards including fastest growing company and businesswoman of the year, and developed her non-executive portfolio alongside this, with a focus on enterprise organisations. She was President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce.
Following the sale of her business Judith expanded her non-executive roles in commercial and public sectors including regeneration, training, agriculture, post, tourism, the arts and grant-making.