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Former IoD chief receives MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours

John Phillips awarded recognition for services to business while clothing entrepreneur and Custard Factory owner also recognised

Former IoD chief John Phillips has received an MBE

The first man to lead the Institute of Directors in the West Midlands has been made an MBE in the Queen's 2016 Birthday Honours.

John Phillips, who recently retired as regional director of the IoD after 23 years, has been handed the title for services to business, education and young people.

West Midlands chairman Jason Wouhra said: "This award is thoroughly deserved.

"As well as making a strong contribution to the IoD, John has had a life-long passion for building partnerships between business and education.

"A recent example has been the mentoring scheme at the University of Wolverhampton, partnering IoD members with final year business students.

"The scheme concentrates on employability and so-called soft skills which are actually so very important.

"In April, John was also awarded an Honorary Life Fellowship of the IoD which I know is something else he was proud to have received."

Entrepreneur Jess Jeetley's fashion brand for petite women has earned her an MBE

Mr Phillips added: "To me made MBE was something I absolutely never expected.

"I regard it as a tremendous honour but it would not have happened had I not received so much willing help from enthusiastic members of the IoD who have always been willing to put something back into their communities. I owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.

"On education, I intend to continue with the mentoring and generally to promote business as an exciting, creative and worthwhile career choice for young people."

Another member of the business community to receive an MBE is clothing entrepreneur Jess Jeetly.

Mrs Jeetly is founder and managing director of the eponymous petite clothing brand.

The citation said her own market research had confirmed that the majority of similarly petite women felt existing retailers were not addressing their needs.

Spotting a gap in the market, she used her savings to launch Jeetly in 2012 to produce smart dresses, coats, trousers and shirts.

Jeetly now sells in 16 countries worldwide including boutiques in Russia, the US and China.

Lucan Gray has been recognised for his work regenerating Digbeth

Also being honoured are Lucan Gray, who has been made an MBE for services to the regeneration of Digbeth.

Mr Gray and his father Bennie spearheaded the rebirth of the former Bird's custard factory and nearby Fazeley Studios which are now an epicentre for growing tech and creative businesses in the city.

Joel Blake, founder of Birmingham-based business advisory firm Cultiv8 and co-founder of peer learning network HOT500, is an OBE for services to business support and enterprise.

Finally, Andrew Cole, manager of Touchwood shopping centre, has been made an MBE for services to retail and charity in Solihull.

Touchwood has recently embarked on a major expansion which will see another 30 shops added to the complex in Solihull town centre.

Joel Blake is an OBE for services to business support and enterprise

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