Two leading businesswomen have joined the board of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership after a comprehensive recruitment process.

Ruth Shepherd and Sara Williams were officially appointed to the LEP’s leadership team at its latest board meeting this week.

Ruth is the founding director of Results Communications Ltd, a consultation and communications consultancy based in Whitchurch, whilst Sara is marketing manager for Northern Europe at Telford-based global digital manufacturer Protolabs.

Marches LEP chairman Graham Wynn said he was delighted to welcome both women to the team.

“The skills and attributes which Ruth and Sara bring will add real value to our board and help us enormously as we continue to drive economic growth across the region.

“It is absolutely vital that our board reflects the diversity and range of different experiences across the Marches region. The appointment of two such hugely-successful businesswomen will help us do that.”

Communications consultant Ruth has more than 20 years’ experience of communicating, engaging and consulting with communities, working with construction, development and planning clients across the country.

She previously worked for one of the North East’s largest housing associations, a top-track 250 London-based construction company, and since 2008 has worked with public and private sector clients bringing forward development sites. She is a Whitchurch town councillor, Vice Chair of Shropshire Constructing Excellence, an Enterprise Advisor through the Careers and Enterprise Company/Shropshire Council and a GoConstruct Construction Ambassador with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Sara brings a wealth of experience gained in both the private and non-profit sectors. She was influential in the establishment of Enginuity at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and led marketing projects at office supplies giant Lyreco before joining Protolabs.

Sara is a certified STEM ambassador, helping inspire a new generation of youngsters in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to ensure the region has the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the future.

The pair are also joined on the board by new members David Hitchiner and Paul Bennett.

Councillor Hitchiner joins in his role as new leader of Herefordshire Council, following the elections in May. He is a qualified solicitor and chartered secretary who has worked for Cadbury Schweppes and Bulmers in Hereford as well as spending time working in Texas in the USA.

He was a governor of Wrekin College before going to Texas, and Hereford Cathedral School since his return. He is now chair of Caplor Horizons which is a charity aimed at inspiring and equipping leaders for a sustainable future.

Mr Bennett takes up his post as part of his role as chairman of Shropshire Business Board. The Shropshire-born solicitor is an expert in professional practices and advises clients across the UK from his base in the county.

He often deals with high profile cases on health and legal sector issues and is regularly quoted in the legal press. He has also chaired The Professionals Partnership, a sector group for business and professional services, covering Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin since its launch in 2017.