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 Burnley and its town centre regeneration plans as “a shining example” of 


She says: “If the public and private sector have got the right project and get it to a certain stage, with support from government, they can secure the money to make it happen.”


Creating jobs is also an important and wide-reaching element of such development schemes, having a positive impact on areas such as the housing market, she adds.


Karen is a chartered surveyor and has more than 27 years’ property and development experience in the public and private sectors. She joined Maple 


She says she was attracted to the Bamber Bridge-based group, which carries its chairman’s name, by its values and commitment to its communities.


The Eric Wright Group is owned by the Eric Wright charitable trust and all  trust for its charitable activities across the North West.


She says: “It’s a business that is well-established and very much trusted. Eric set up the charitable trust to support his business model of providing long-term career opportunities for employees with a stable ownership  


In her previous role as Salford City Council’s development director Karen became well-known for the central part she played in its acclaimed regeneration.


Lancashire has got a whole host of positives which we all know about and don’t get shouted about enough


Notable successes include the creation of the transformational New Bailey business district and Chapel Street, part of the Salford Central regeneration area. More than £1bn has now been invested in Salford, with involvement from big-name players.


Karen led on the major regeneration projects across all sectors, supporting the growth of the city and was part of the Greater Manchester team securing investment funds and driving forward developments.


Before her Salford days, Karen worked as a director for Welsh Development Agency and for a private developer.


 is one of her many strengths. Having worked on both sides of the fence, she has a strong understanding of their sometimes differing needs.


She says: “Most of my career has been about that partnership working. The key to a successful partnership is to have a common goal you all aim for.


“I try to put myself in the position of other people, to see things from their perspective and to try and work through things to reach a compromise.


“Being honest and open is important as well. With my North East roots, I wear my heart on my sleeve and say it as it is sometimes,” adds Karen, who was raised in rural County Durham.


 day, I like to make things happen.”


Karen believes it is also important that developers bring local people on the regeneration journey with them.


She says: “You have got to remember that people live in, work and visit these places. You need to do it with them. It’s really important to have their support.”


Karen has spent most of her career in a male-dominated industry and is heartened that a third of Eric Wright’s board are women and nearly half the members of the group management team are female.


 wasn’t still male dominated.”


Even though Karen works for a company that promotes female leadership, she says: “Throughout my career, I have gone to meetings where I’ve often been the only woman in the room.”


Karen thanks her mother for equipping her with the many skills needed to navigate that situation successfully.


She explains: “My mother, a widowed farmer, was my role model. Normally the only woman farmer in a male dominated rural community, she taught me not only how to make being a woman great for my career, but also that it is not the only secret to female success.”


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THE BIG INTERVIEW


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