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NEDonBoard success story: accessing exclusive advisory board opportunities


The NEDonBoard Dragons’ Den style events, connecting talent and experience through networking

NEDonBoard, Institute of Board Members, jointly with the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator organise strategic networking events to connect entrepreneurial talent and expertise, skills and experience.

This article showcases the partnership between Emmeline Hartley, a creative entrepreneur in the film industry running two community interest companies, and Keith Brockbank, an experienced senior leader and seasoned board member transitioning to a portfolio career. This case exemplifies the value of networking in uncovering unique collaboration opportunities across generations, sectors and skills.

Dragons’ Den style connecting events

At the heart of our networking initiative is the aim to connect individuals from various backgrounds with complementary needs and skills. Emmeline was on the lookout for strategic advice to navigate funding and compliance challenges for her community-focused companies. Keith sought to apply his expertise in new, impactful ways beyond his pharma biotech background.

I was looking to be connected with people I could work with as a board advisor or non-executive director, to help move their organisations forward to the next level and where I felt that I could add value”.

Keith Brockbank

A planned breakout session at the event sparked the initial connection between Emmeline and Keith. Despite their different professional landscapes, a common interest in supporting Emmeline’s CICs quickly became apparent.

“In the breakout room, it was obvious to me that there were some things that Emmeline wanted some help with where I had some expertise that I could bring to help. Therefore we exchanged contact details during the breakout room, and then we were able to pick things up via a Zoom call fairly soon after the event and explore things in much greater depth, which therefore led to an ongoing relationship which has been very fruitful”.

Keith Brockbank

Collaboration and outcome

The interaction led to Keith taking on a non-executive director role for Emmeline’s ventures. Their collaboration has since unlocked funding opportunities and provided strategic direction, showcasing the tangible benefits of the connection.

Some specific outcomes have been amazing. One is obviously we got Innovate UK funding. I found the whole process difficult, but Keith was someone who I could lean on throughout. Working with Keith has been enriching; he has helped me make decisions for the future of my companies”.

Emmeline Hartley


This case study underscores the effectiveness of our networking events in fostering meaningful connections that drive business success and growth. For board directors and non-executive directors, such events offer a platform to expand their impact, share expertise, and discover unexpected avenues for contribution.

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Related resources:

Achieving your board objectives thanks to your NEDonBoard membership