The Team

We are a collective of marketing experts, delivering real results for clients.

Paul Featherstone

CEO

Paul took over as CEO of The NC Group in 2019. The man who oversees (if not owns) ‘the lot’. Paul brings with him a background in advertising and print, having started off in London in the 1980s, or the ‘glory days’ as he’ll have us believe, when consumerism was still untouched by social media, and guilt-free cigarettes and lunchtime pints were still very much part of the culture.

Part of the Saatchi & Saatchi ‘machine’ at the early stage of his career, Paul has since built a raft of experience within the fields of marketing and advertising, representing various household brands, and supporting media advertising campaigns – with a string of awards to show for it.

Following his time in ‘the Smoke’ and then in Nottinghamshire as Creative Director for a prominent print and publishing group,  Paul moved  to York and took over the highly respected and  long-established  advertising agency Goldtempest  (no, we’re not sure either…) specialising in mass media advertising, supporting clients across the consumer, corporate and public sectors.  Paul has since expanded Goldtempest into new media platforms, today regarded as specialists in TV, having forged close working relationships with the major companies including ITV, Sky, Channel4 alongside all key local network broadcasters.

Mr Personable, Paul is your quintessential people person, well connected and well respected within his circles (while keeping us lot in check to make it all happen).

When  Paul is  not on the phone  or  driving up and down mountains with his car  buddies  he’s busy making music. A  guitarist in a local band ‘Stryders Budgie’  his gigs are worth a visit, so he tells us. You heard it here first.

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Paul Featherstone

Ollie Hayes

Managing Director

Ollie is known to be a Director who connects people, companies and projects.

Through  his media career presenting for radio groups including Capital, Global and Bauer he also worked with record labels  to help launch artists into the UK market.

After setting up a talent management company representing singers and television personalities (trust us, he has a few stories to tell!), Ollie  launched several event brands attracting audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 at UK venues and outdoor spaces.

In 2004 he founded Gosh Promo UK, an experiential agency specialising in brand activations and promotional staffing, whose clients include Uber Eats, Virgin  Holidays, Domino's and Student Roost.

After joining The NC Group to oversee sales across all services and brands, he became Managing Director of our happy family in 2020.

Ollie believes in transparency, integrity and respectful challenge. He is the ultimate problem solver for both our clients and our company.

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Ollie Hayes

Sue Featherstone

Financial Director

Sue heads up the financial and administration side at the Group.  With a background in ‘hard nose’ advertising sales and a  trained  bookkeeper  and debt collector, Sue ensures we’re all in line (well, preferably the bottom line).

An enthusiastic walker, the Three Peaks is next on her horizon she tells us, well, once the NC Group hills have been climbed at home.

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Sue Featherstone

Jess Valenghi

Director of Social Media Marketing

Jess is our social queen, in all senses of the word.

She joined the Pick & Mix team in 2015 following a stint at Elf Marketing working as an account manager, supporting national marketing & advertising campaigns for pub chains Greene King and John Barras.

Today Jess heads up the team at Pick & Mix, acting as team and client lead, working across various industry sectors to support clients with digital marketing and social planning, activity and evaluation.

Our social butterfly as well as social media strategist, Jess brings enthusiasm, commitment, and drive to any proceedings. An early adopter too, Jess is usually the first to know about a new social trend… and always the first to try a new venue!

Jess has a degree English Literature & History, and qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She also boasts a cracking sense of humour.

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Jess Valenghi

Caroline Hamilton

Director of PR

Caroline has the ability to get things done. 
She joined MK PR in 2008 after an 11-year stint in London (she got third off for good behaviour). Before showing us all how to do things properly she was an Account Director at Hill & Knowlton London office, looking after PR strategies for multinational retail clients, including B&Q and Sainsbury’s. 
Prior to H&K, Caroline enjoyed three years as UK Communications Manager at Tesco where she ran Tesco.com and non-food UK PR remits. In the process she became a somewhat unwilling expert on Bird Flu (the last pandemic for those old enough to remember…) and was also Editor of the 250,000 circulation Tesco internal magazine (the two are unrelated). 
Before stepping into Tesco, Caroline was at the Marine Stewardship Council, an award-winning global green-partnership for sustainable seafood. Her career started at Weber Shandwick Worldwide, where she worked on a range of corporate, consumer and public affairs accounts, including M&S, Visa, Nissan and the then Woolworths. 
She has a politics degree from the University of London but ‘fesses up to the fact that she spent most of her time playing hockey and setting up a student radio station. Caroline is a former trustee for Helen’s Trust Derbyshire and Roundabout Homelessness Charity in Sheffield as well as having previously sat on the Sheffield Business Leaders Forum. 
 
An enthusiastic runner and always one for a challenge, Caroline reached the summit of Kilimanjaro in early 2015.

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Caroline Hamilton

Ashlea McConnell

Director of PR

Ashlea joined MK PR as Communications Director in 2013 after six years at Irwin Mitchell, one of the country’s leading law firms. 

Best described as having an eclectic PR past, Ashlea has worked for universities, software developers and community groups, as well as some of the UK’s best known health brands including Durex and Scholl (a combination she says never fails to get the conversation started!) 

Having dedicated a significant portion of her working life to the legal industry – which she assures us is nothing like the book ‘The Firm’- Ashlea left her cosy in-house role to re-experience the agency rollercoaster following the promise of a ‘creative working environment’; known to the rest of us simply as the MK PR office. 

A Hallam University English graduate, Ashlea says her creative flair and Yorkshire twang were nurtured, indeed positively encouraged, by a couple of absolutely cracking (if not a little crackers) tutors, who she holds entirely responsible for where she finds herself today – which, according to PR Week, is one of the top PR professionals in her age group in the UK*. 

And so, with more than a decade in the industry and a myriad of professional services, education and product PR experience, Ashlea brings a bulging black book, a love of spreadsheets and the ability to shamelessly namedrop in any given situation to Team MK. 

*PR Week’s 29 Under 29 – November 2012

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Ashlea McConnell

Fiona Pridmore

Creative Director

Fiona originally studied Fashion & Textiles at York, but a detour via newspaper design and production prompted a change of direction into the world of graphic design, leading her to join The Ackrill Newspapers Group in 1990. From there Fiona joined the studio team at Goldtempest, becoming Creative Director in 2004. 

Over the following 20 years Goldtempest went from strength to strength, working with clients from a huge variety of sectors. During this period Fiona has worked with universities, retailers, hotels, restaurants, manufacturers and independent businesses on projects ranging from a complete branding piece for a newly built restaurant on the quayside of St Aubin, Jersey with ex-Masterchef judge John Benson-Smith; to design development for the Pig & Pastry café, on York’s Bishy Road, recently named as one of The Guardian’s ‘50 best places to eat breakfast’ in the UK, through to corporate brochure design for the Police, and dealer newsletters for car manufacturer Volvo UK. 

Fiona has the ability to interpret, visualise and translate client's ideas bringing creativity and passion to all that she touches.

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Fiona Pridmore

Andie Miller

Director of Digital

Our Andie started his career at newspaper group RIM, moving to Trinity before Johnston Press where he became Head of Digital for the North, managing Motors Today; Jobs Today and Fish For Jobs, among other online platforms.

Proud to tell us he was at the ‘infancy’ of the online and .com boom, Andie was responsible for SEO and website promotion for Green Flag and 888.com, working closely with the likes of Go Compare and Money Supermarket ‘in the early days’.

Since those ‘good ol’ days’ Andie has created and implemented major software platforms to include (deep breath here…) recruitment, estate agent, warehousing software and EPOS; world-wide ticketing systems; entry systems for the hospitality industry; friction free Serving APPS (breathe)…. and was the lead in creating a contractor work app that is currently being used by two of the country’s leading retailers (still with us….?). Suffice to say, he knows his stuff.

Our digital and SEO strategist, Andie’s chalked up a number of clients in his time across both the commercial and public sectors, most notably John Lewis; Nestle; Verder International; Metcalfe Heavy Haulage British; PowerHealth Nutrition; Transport Police; Transport for London; North Yorkshire Police; Hull and York Councils and the Pivni Group.

Today, Andie heads up CRM Management Ltd within The NC Group, working on a range of projects on behalf of clients, and the wider team.

A quintessential Yorkshire gentleman (you can take the man out of Yorkshire but….) Andie is your archetypical hard working, honest sort of chap, and enjoys all things country – in other words, outside of work, Andie can be found in his tweeds, with a pint in hand. Tally ho, lad.

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Andie Miller