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Who is Rose Marley?

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12th October 2020
Last updated
4th November 2020
Co-operatives UK
Rose Marley

Rose Marley will be joining Co‑operatives UK as Chief Executive in January 2021. Read more about Rose’s career to date.

Currently founding Chief Executive of Manchester-based social enterprise SharpFutures, which supports diverse, young talent into creative, digital and tech industries. Rose was also directly appointed by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to lead a pilot campaign improving local travel opportunities and raising aspiration for young people in Manchester, called OurPass.

She is currently the chair of the Social Enterprise Advisory Group for the Greater Manchester Industrial Strategy, an RSA Fellow as well as an advisory board member for SODA (School of Digital Arts) chaired by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle and Executive Producer of Red Production Company & CEO of StudioCanal UK, Nicola Shindler.

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Rose has had an eclectic career. Self-employed from a young age, she cut her teeth the music business in the era known as ‘Madchester’ before turning her hand to social enterprise, inspired by the lack of social mobility in the creative industries and in search of something more impactful. Rose was the founding COO of the Manchester City Council developments The Sharp Project and Space Studios, with clients including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky television as well as a host of independents in tech and creative design.

Rose is renowned for her ability to galvanise community action, not least in leading Manchester City Council’s response to the Manchester arena attack, leading a global broadcast of choirs singing from the steps of the town hall in the first anniversary of the atrocity.

Rose has also worked closely with The Co-operative Group over the years, most recently producing a community led YouTube Live event in lockdown which saw 100,000 people singing on their doorsteps with appearances from top musical artists, partnering with Manchester International Festival. But her business interactions go way back to her granddad’s family funeral business, where she learnt her business skills from a young age, which was sold to Co-operative Funeralcare. The shops are still trading to this day.

As founder CEO of SharpFutures, a social enterprise that aims to get young people into creative and digital careers, she has grown the organisation from concept to a team of 40 and has now designed a blueprint to roll it out nationally. She will now take on a board position when she steps down as CEO.

Find out more about Rose in her interview with Co-op News
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