Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University

Meet The Team That Will Be Helping With Your Business Growth

Our expert speakers at Kingston are selected for their subject matter expertise and also their experience with supporting SME businesses. Each session is live and interactive with our speakers and your peers.

Dr Bahare Afrahi

Programme Director

I enable innovation and creativity in people and organisations and cultivate their thinking around risks and try new things at the same time they’re maintaining commercial credibility. I help cultivate insights and ideas; plan, design, and execute forward-thinking workshops that allow people to step away from conventional solutions with experiments.

Eugene Fisher

Industry Expert

As a transformation consultant and product manager I’ve worked with C-suite leaders in start-ups to Fortune 50s drive growth by enhancing leadership capabilities, building innovative teams and launching new products.

I take a pragmatic and design-led approach to delivering growth; a few recent projects include testing new business propositions for a convenience foods chain with 1.2k locations, helping a new team generate £10m of business value within one year of formation, and developing the enterprise strategy for a £1b retailer.

Over my career, I have enjoyed senior functional roles in marketing and communications, in strategy and in people & culture. I have operational experience running a small design and marketing agency, a tech start-up, a franchise and a consultancy. Currently a consultant and executive coach, I work with business leaders from start-ups to major corporates to help them design and achieve their ambitions.

Misa Tasavori

Industry Expert

I have twenty years of experience in consulting, business management, and research. I have worked with small and medium-sized enterprises to support them in writing a business plans, analysing their markets, and developing their business strategies both domestically and internationally. I have also worked as a Business Development Manager, and Data Analytics and Planning Manager in different industries.

In addition, with a background in Industrial Engineering, MBA, and a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Manchester, I currently work as a senior lecturer at the University of Essex; I also have experience in teaching New Venture Creation, International Business Strategy, Business Strategy, and Quantitative Data Analysis to a variety of audiences.

Dr Jan Wilcox


I am a chartered surveyor and spent twenty years working in a wide variety of organisations including private practice and the public sector. My last full-time role as a chartered surveyor was as Vice President of a Real Estate fund for an international bank.

This knowledge of a wide variety of organisations then led me to start teaching on various Business and Management degrees alongside managing my own real estate micro business for ten years. I completed a PhD at Essex University and have co-authored two real estate books. Currently I am working as a Senior Lecturer at both Westminster Business School and Suffolk Business School; as an examiner for The Property Institute; and as an external examiner for UCL’s Summer School.

I see my role in the Help to Grow programme as relating the theory of business growth to the practical realities of working in SMEs where you are often far too busy doing the ‘day job’, and keeping clients happy, to plan how to survive and grow in the future.

Dr Fran Hyde

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

An experienced passionate marketer Fran began her working life in fashion retail in London before moving into the world of fashion magazines working on international publications such as Marie Claire, Elle and The Face. Whilst in industry Fran embraced the idea of lifelong learning acquiring several professional qualifications including the CIM Diploma and an MA in Marketing (Kingston University). Changing career to become a lecturer in 2000 Fran gained a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education (Institute of Education) then in 2018 completed her PhD (University of Essex) based on ‘Difficult Marketing’ in the not for profit sector. Alongside her work as a Senior Lecturer in Marketing Fran is an active member of the Academy of Marketing, Chair of the Education and Knowledge Exchange Committee at the Worshipful Company of Marketors and is a Vice Chair of Trustees at St Helena Hospice, Colchester.

Sahar Zangir

Industry Expert

I have worked in knowledge exchange for over 10 years, which in a nutshell means working at the intersection of industry and higher education, supporting businesses like yourselves to innovate and grow. This has given me the opportunity to work with SMEs as well as multinational companies from different industries on a range of exciting projects.

Prior to that I worked in marketing and business development focusing on understanding the market, creating sales strategies and improving our offers from the information and data we gathered.

Glenn Bowering

Industry Expert

I help companies embrace adaptive planning techniques which support them in coping with a fast changing and uncertain world. Being able to respond to unpredictable changes in a timely manner not only makes businesses more resilient but also supports effective leadership and lower risk growth.

Dr John Blenkinsopp

Industry Expert

I am Professor of Organisational Psychology at Oslo New University College (Norway) and Northumbria University (UK). I came into academia from a career in HR and my diverse research interests are linked by an interested in how people make sense of work. SMEs have fewer resources to handle HR issues, but potentially better knowledge of their people and context, and my enthusiasm for the H2GM programme, and specifically module 8 on engagement, leadership and change, stems from an appreciation that helping managers handle these issues well could actually make SMEs better places to work and grow than many large firms.

Melanie Roberts

Industry Expert

I am a lecturer in strategy and business operations as well as running my own sales and management training consultancy. My background is media, advertising and start-ups across industry sectors.

I help businesses develop a differentiated value proposition for their key audiences as part of a robust strategy to support their business in a changing environment.

Dr Juan Soon

Industry Expert

Cash is King and financial matters are crucial in every business and SMEs are not excluded. With my accounting, finance, and management background, I have successfully delivered many financial management sessions at university level and professional programme such as the Small Business Leadership Programme, and currently the Help to Grow Programme. I also act as the special mentor, where I help businesses with their financial matters by providing insights into best practices.