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Double appointment for Wales’ largest coworking space

Pictured: Community Manager Llinos Neale / Digital Marketing Assistant Patrick Valentino

The Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE) has appointed Llinos Neale as its new Community Manager as the business continues to grow its team.

Llinos, who worked as an Operations Manager at Cardiff charity, Pedal Power, before joining ICE in 2017 as a receptionist, will now manage the 700-strong community across its Campus and online platform.

Patrick Valentino also joins the team as Digital Marketing Assistant, a vital role as the business increases its online offering during Lockdown.

Speaking of her appointment, Llinos said that her previous management roles, coupled with working at the grassroots of the ICE community, gave her the perfect experience to support the Campus.

Llinos said, “Through my previous role at ICE I’ve been lucky enough to share the journey of many business founders. I was often the first person new members met and have shared in their experiences as they grow, some from a one-person desk through to fully-furnished offices with a team of staff. This has given me a great insight into the challenges and successes business owners face and I’m excited to start working with the community in a more strategic way.

“We have a vision at Welsh ICE to be the first point of thought for those who want to start a business, or who are thinking about becoming self-employed. As issues such as the COVID19 Pandemic or the growing recession disrupt economies, we are going to see more people have to think about seeking alternative employment.

“Part of my new role at ICE is going to be growing our community by reaching out to these people, many of whom have come to a moment in their lives where they are considering if they can make their skills and experience work for them, instead of an employer. Our community is full of people who wanted to take control of their own lives and work the way they want to, following their own dreams. Supporting them and encouraging them to collaborate with each other is what we do at ICE, it’s why our members thrive, and I’m looking forward to being a bigger part of that.“

Formerly a Digital Marketing Executive and Business Consultant, Patrick achieved his MBA in Media Management from Cardiff University, skills and experience that are perfect for his new role helping grow the online ICE community.

Speaking of the new appointments, CEO Jamie McGowan said: “When Llinos joined us as a receptionist three years ago, she was probably overqualified for the role, but her passion to be part of what we were doing on Campus was apparent for all to see. It wasn’t long before she was improving our processes and procedures and setting best practice. From introducing new CRM systems to certifying our quality assurances, Llinos led on a number of important projects.

“So when she applied for the highly competitive Community Manager position, we knew Llinos had the potential to stand out; and she did with an insightful vision for the Campus which we are excited to be working towards in the next twelve months.

“Llinos’ energy and enthusiasm are infectious and she will be tough to replace as the first point of contact at ICE. Now, as she moves into a more senior role, Llinos will take over day-to-day management of the 30,000 sq ft ICE Campus as well as grow our external partnerships and develop our business support programmes.”

ICE recently launched ice.community, a new platform that will allow its members to maintain business support and the collaborative ethos of ICE, despite restrictions, something that will be integral to Patrick’s role.

Jamie said: “Patrick not only brings with him great technical skill in digital marketing, but also an important understanding about how to support a community of business owners. He really impressed us with his desire to be part of the ICE community, which he first learned about from a marketing book written by one of our members. Patrick’s already settled well into the community helping run our online events and supporting Rachel, our Digital Marketing Manager, with the wider strategy for the platform.”

Welsh ICE is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.