Meet the Team
Victoria Mann - Founder & Chief Executive Officer by day
Vicky is the brains behind the app - the captain and the pilot of the NearMeNow Rocket ship!
Vicky was a Senior Risk Analyst for over ten years within three major financial institutions in South Wales, UK and her numerous achievements; from delivering an automated underwriting engine that revolutionised decision making in the motor finance industry to being a sole pricing analyst for major global finance initiatives; gave her invaluable experience and skills to drive forward the development of our app.
However, it was after a career change to become a Secondary Mathematics and IT Teacher that her idea for this app came to her whilst she sat in that Hairdresser’s chair. In fact it was during an A-Level Business Studies class that she first voiced her idea out loud when a student asked her whether she’d ever had her own business idea. And because Vicky is a “doer” and not a dreamer, she felt it was important to see that business idea through and develop it into the App you now know as NearMeNow.
It’s Vicky’s drive and passion to support local businesses that has brought this app alive. She has worked tirelessly since the idea came to her in 2014 to make this app a reality. Through hard work, endless research and determination to learn and develop her skills as an entrepreneur - she has brought the digital high street to you.
“The high street should be a destination; a leisure attraction that gives you an opportunity to engage with your community. Where you’re served coffee by business owners who stop to ask you about your day and shop owners who put their heart and souls into the products and services that they offer. We complain. I complained. During a walk along Taff Street, Pontypridd in 2016 whilst researching NearMeNow, I counted the charity shops, vape stores and mobile phone outlets. As a child I remember visiting Prince’s Café for a ham roll and custard slice with my Nan. I remembered the doughnut stall in the indoor market with my Mam, which also sold cockles much to my disgust but my sister’s awe! Pontypridd was a thriving Market town at the turn of the century and our town’s story of demise is sadly repeated across the country. Armed with our new app, I aim to lead the fight against eCommerce. My aim is to re-engage communities, encourage collaboration amongst businesses and re-invigorate ‘destination high street’ one town at a time.”
No one really knows how or when SuperMann’s powers came to light, some say she was never human at all. The story goes that she was developed from a computer chip in Dr Big Shop’s laboratory. It was lucky for the world that Dr Big Shop could not harness the good in her and set her free, only for her to be found, abandoned, by her loving parents and raised as their own in the rolling Welsh Valleys. Her parents and sister attempted to embrace the advanced technology that came with living with SuperMann much to her amusement. Her advanced technological ability means she can process and store data at superhuman speed - and she never forgets a thing.
Her brain works faster than the World Wide Web and the high fliers of Silicon Valley have her under surveillance 24/7 as her threat to their existence is real. Never far from her side is MiniMann her trusted sidekick, a sociable ally who has developed an advanced method of communication with her peers with a meer facial expression. SuperMann and MiniMann’s focus however, is on the greater good of local communities, high streets all over the globe that need saving from Dr Big Shop. No high street is too small or too far for SuperMann to come to the rescue.
Martin Greenhalgh - Director and Chief Technical Officer by day
Martin is the calm behind the NearMeNow storm - the level headed one and our sounding board for all things tech!
As an experienced Systems Developer, Solution Architect and IT Director, he has spent the last 30 years developing and installing a range of bespoke systems in several national organisations across multiple business sectors including Retail and Financial Services.
He is happiest when problem solving or developing software to meet a specific requirement.
“Vicky and I met up again early in 2017 to discuss her extensive research into the issues faced by the high street. I instinctively knew that the mobile Application she envisaged could have a positive impact and didn't hesitate to get involved.”
Martin ensures that the development of the NearMeNow App meets our exacting standards and that the infrastructure on which it is built and operating remains world class.
"Like all of the NearMeNow team I am passionate about shopping local. It is our collective responsibility to keep our local high street shops and facilities alive, we can all help to do this by using them whenever possible."
Exposure to dangerous levels of gamma radiation whilst working on a top secret IT project gave rise to The Green Crusader’s super human strength. This gentle and loving family man can switch to super hero mode whenever his shopaholic wife and daughter get the urge to pop to the high street. In he swoops with ease to fight his way through the bustling high streets, clearing the way for them to browse shop windows, spot a bargain and try on clothes - nothing is allowed to get in his way.
Summoned by the ring of the till, he appears with his bank card and in one foul swoop the countless shopping bags are whisked away with ease. Stronger than a hundred men he can protect his loved ones and keep the high streets safe for shoppers across the globe. Nothing can get in the way of shopping when the Green Crusader is around.
Sara Lynn Jones - Chief Operating Officer by day
Sara is the one who turns all things techie into a language that everyone can understand!
With over 20 years’ experience in sales, coaching and training; predominantly in the finance and banking industry; Sara has spent the last four years running her own successful business coaching and mentoring individuals who have taken the step of becoming entrepreneurs themselves by starting their own business.
“When Vicky called me back in 2016 to ask for some coaching to help her approach local business to communicate to them her vision for the app, I immediately felt her passion for what she was trying to achieve. It came as no surprise to me when she came back to me in September 2017 and said that her app was happening. I’m excited to now play a larger part in a business that truly puts local communities at the heart of all that we do.”
Sara takes care of all the things that you actually “see” at the front end of the business - from our social media to coaching and training the team that support our businesses on the high street. Pretty much everything that you read, see or hear from us comes from her.
Why Sara loves the high street vibe -
“Having left the corporate rat race a few years ago to be my own boss, I can fully appreciate the courage and hard work it takes to get your own business off the ground. When you support local it means that you are supporting someone's dream, their passion and ultimately - their life and family. Without our support these businesses cannot thrive so we need to do our bit to keep our local communities alive and it starts by knowing what’s on offer right on our doorstep.”
Born to human parents, Star’s superhuman powers were only discovered after the birth of her third child. Faced with a highly stressful day, needing to be in a million places at once, she reached breaking point and as her frustration erupted, she realised she could fly. This High Street Hero has the gift of flight, a much needed superpower as she whizzes between juggling her children, an enviable social life and being a busy entrepreneur. Speed is of the essence for this super hero as she has no time to waste and defies time with how much she can fit into her day. She needs to keep her finger on the pulse, knowing exactly where she needs to be to get the right deals, right NOW! Some say she has the ability to slow down time to get everything done.
Multi tasking is key so a trip to town has to combine necessity, business and pleasure - meeting friends for lunch or the best cocktails in town before picking up a steak for dinner and checking in with the accountant. It’s all in a day’s work for this shining Shooting Star!
Rhod Davies - Area Manager by day
Rhodri is the one who brings the wit and humour to the NearMeNow office!
Rhodri is an experienced researcher with an academic background in telecommunications and small business exploitation of new technologies. After gaining much of his experience at the eCommerce Innovation Centre (eCIC) at Cardiff Business School undertaking analysis of broadband take-up, applications and services as well as government policy on a Pan-European scale, Rhodri left eCIC, but elected to remain at Cardiff Business School where he undertook an MPhil research degree measuring the effect of broadband technologies on small businesses. This long-held interest in supporting smaller businesses to grow economically led Rhodri to further explore this passion and he was already working on a project to help local communities through the use of mobile applications before joining NearMeNow.
“Vicky and I met at a business start-up course where our mutual passion for helping local communities brought us together and her enthusiasm and drive soon enticed me into becoming part of the NearMeNow team. Becoming part of the team will not only enable me to put my knowledge to use but will also allow me to gain further knowledge and experience in this area.”
Rhodri is the researcher at NearMeNow but also gets involved in many other aspects of the business, from spending time on the high street to using new found skills in social media.
“With a love of something a little bit different and quirky, I have always had an appreciation for the diversity and personal touch provided by small independent businesses. Having been brought up in a village environment I have always understood the importance of supporting local communities, and these businesses are a vital component who need our support to thrive.”
From a young age everyone around him knew he was different. Worryingly, he could never be heard or seen by his parents which was far from normal for a toddler. His friends ignored his excited cries to come and play hide and seek - what was the point as he could never be found. His stealth like movements mean you never see or hear him coming. Photokinesis gives him a cloaking function, making him invisible to the naked eye and it’s the perfect super power to allow him to work quietly behind the scenes to save the day on all matters close to his heart.
Armed with data and facts from his extensive research he can appear in an instant, normally by superbike, with the most compelling and valid arguments to win any battle - so he may be silent but when he speaks out about helping communities thrive - he becomes deadly. His silence is only broken on the terraces of his local football stadium, when his passion for supporting all things local becomes vocal. Louder than a red dragon, he breaks into song, screams at the ref and roars with the applause.
Elin Williams - Trainee Business Development Manager by day
Elin is the one who keeps us current, young and organised.
Having completed her AS Levels in Business Studies, Law and Religious Studies at college, Elin decided that she wanted to learn more about business and entrepreneurship by “doing” rather than learning in a classroom. And what better opportunity to learn from the ground up than to join an exciting new startup. It was even more exciting as it was with NearMeNow, within the tech industry, and all things digital is very close to her heart.
“I knew this opportunity would be perfect for me for my first ever job from college as it would allow me to experience all aspects of starting a business alongside a team that also looked like great fun to work with.”
Elin pretty much gets stuck into all aspects of the business from getting to know our high street businesses and taking care of our important relationship with them, to marketing, office management, event planning and anything she fancies learning more about.
And what young girl doesn't love being on the high street with a phone in her hand.
“Every day is different but my favourite part of my role is being on the high street, chatting to business owners and getting to understand what they want from their own digital high street app. I really love the way the app works and it’s so exciting to get an understanding on how apps work from behind the scenes instead of just using them every day.”
Born at the cusp of the Millennium, Elle Zee was a Super Hero from day one. This digital-savvy teen has never known a time without tech and some say that her hand is actually a Smartphone. At the touch of a button, she can instantly see into the past, present and future and can teleport to her friend’s side faster than the speed of light so she’s never far away from those who need her. She is called to their rescue via her very own app that all those who need her friendship can download and bring her to action.
No social occasion is too small for this local hero. Her response rate to marketing, messaging and mates is instant and there’s never any need for her to hang around and waste a second. Time is of the essence for Elle Zee when there’s socialising or shopping to do!