Cathy Skelly has been instrumental in developing the city’s creative and digital offer as well as it’s thriving communities. We asked Cathy to tell us more about how she arrived here at Invest Liverpool and to share her views on the City’s development.
For over over 24 years I have worked in and with the creative and digital sector in Liverpool and the North West. My experience includes the management of a number of ‘world firsts’ including large scale projects delivered to global audiences.
Just over a year ago I joined the Invest Liverpool team at Liverpool Vision. As well as supporting the Invest team, I am continuing my work with the Liverpool’s creative and digital community through the kin2kin network and playing a key role in positioning the City as a dynamic, vibrant, creative investment location.
My ‘professional’ early years were driven by an aspiration to see my name in lights; Paris Fashion Week or Broadway (at that time either would have done) but a brief a dalliance in both fashion and the theatre soon brought me to my senses! So – after a few hungry years, I took what I thought would be a short term role at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. I ended up being there for 6 years, progressing from receptionist to PA to Chief Executive to Communications Manager, looking after large scale projects. The experience was invaluable and although it was a bit of a baptism of fire, it was one that gave me the opportunity to travel the world to meet and work with an amazing array of people (including her Majesty the Queen, stars of yesteryear, stars at the peak of their career and stars in the making!)
Whilst at LIPA, I was asked to join the team at Amaze supporting their PR ambitions. At that time Amaze were a relatively young, but rapidly growing internet solutions company. They have gone on to become one of the UK’s leading full service digital marketing, technology and commerce consultancy. In 2002, I joined Liverpool Biennial which in my opinion, in PR terms was their most successful event – but I guess I would say that! It was during that time I met Kevin McManus and was asked to join Merseyside ACME (the UK’s first specialist creative industries support agency) to co-manage a transatlantic project showcasing the best of Liverpool and Manchester creative businesses in NYC.
Achievements that stand out in particular from the ACME days are the role I played as part of the small team that managed key initiatives including the development of Baltic Creative CIC, the creation and delivery of Sound City and the kin2kin network.
So that’s basically the winding journey that led me to my current role in the Invest team at Liverpool Vision.
I am Liverpool born and bred, passionate about the people and the city and naturally attracted to anything that shines a positive light on the fantastic work that goes on here – so I might be accused of bias.
But I’d argue that the facts speak for themselves. It’s a fact that the city is ranked No.1 in the UK for both entrepreneurship and business growth and is renowned for its cutting edge technology and R&D, topping the Northern league table for business innovation. It’s a fact that Liverpool was cited as the 2nd fastest growing Tech Cluster in the UK by Tech Nation 2015 and that Liverpool’s creative and digital sector generated £878m GVA in 2013 (a figure expected to double by 2030). And it’s a fact that the city’s creative business ecology is driving noted innovation in immersive technology and virtual reality, IoT, sensor technology and big data.
But if you’re of the Disraelian school of thought then I challenge you to come and see for yourself “one of the great urban renaissance successes of the 21st Century.” I’ll guarantee you a hearty welcome with a generous helping of humour – but don’t expect modesty!
Please get in touch to discuss opportunities in Liverpool’s by emailing me on [email protected]