Meet the people creating futures
Progression and innovation comes from passionate people. At Oxford Innovation we believe in empowering our team to deliver the future through their creativity and insight
Our people come to us with the skills and capabilities that deliver results.
Encouraged by a culture of focus, adaptability and creativity, our leaders have developed a reputation as experts in planning and running innovation centres that meet client needs.
We have a core head office team based in Oxford, along with centre management teams located within all our centres, providing support to our centre customers and engaging in the local business community.
Jo was appointed Managing Director of OI in October 2017, having originally joined in November 2000 to open Culham Innovation Centre. Jo has over 20 years’ experience in the operation and management of incubators and innovation centres and has led several feasibility studies undertaking site assessments, developing operating models and has overseen the mobilisation and opening of many of OI’s centres. Jo is a regular speaker at conferences on innovation centre and incubation best practice.
Tim Smith MBE
Deputy Managing Director
Tim joined Oxford Innovation Ltd in November 2019 as Deputy Managing Director, responsible for the day-to-day operation of the company. He was previously the chief executive of a Local Enterprise Partnership, where he worked closely with Oxford Innovation Services and SQW – in the development and implementation of economic growth strategies and business support services. Tim brings over 20 years’ experience of forging economic development partnerships and before that leadership, management and operations in the public sector.
Jon joined Oxford Innovation in May 2007 as Finance Manager and progressed to Divisional Director of Finance in 2015, where he is responsible for the finance and procurement functions within Oxford Innovation. As well as overseeing the strategic and operational elements of finance and procurement Jon is also an important part of the Business Development team, preparing financial business plans and analysis on behalf of client’s and mobilising new centres.
Elaine has worked for Oxford Innovation since 2005 and headed up the central marketing team until 2016, when she moved to Bristol as Centre Director for Future Space. In August 2018 Elaine was promoted to Business Development Director to lead on all business development activities, from bids and tenders, to consultancy projects and relationship building. In July 2021, Elaine and Gareth commenced a role rotation and so Elaine now leads the commercial elements of OI. Elaine’s experience gives her a deep understanding of how innovation centres work, and how to best support clients in delivering their vision.
Business Development Director
Gareth joined Oxford Innovation in 2011, originally as a Centre Manager and has progressed through the business having previously held the role of Commercial Manager. With over 15 years’ experience in the commercial and operational functions of businesses across the leisure and property sectors, he is responsible for all sales, revenue, marketing and contract management functions within our Innovation Centres. Gareth is passionate about ensuring our customers receive first class levels of customer service, and is focused on developing pricing models and enhancing our centre products to meet the demands of SMEs across the UK.
Rob was promoted to Operations Director in June 2021 after shaping an outstanding level of operational performance across the business since joining in February 2018. Prior to this Rob had 10 years with the NHS as an Operations Manager accumulating a wealth of knowledge and experience in Health & Safety, Compliance, Facilities Management, Quality Assurance, Building Management & Construction. Rob has a personable approach and is passionate about supporting and developing our staff and maintaining and improving our building assets so that our Innovation Centres operate to market-leading and exceptional standard.
Head of HR
Kathryn Seys joined SQW Group in February 2007 following the merger between Oxford Innovation and SQW, with a remit to build and manage a professional HR service across the Group. In this role she has developed and manages all aspects of the HR function, with responsibility for recruitment, induction, performance management, training, policies and procedures, reward, TUPE and employee relations. She has also managed several change projects, including the introduction of a flexible benefits package and restructuring programmes.