Island Influencers-logo

Island Influencers

Business & Economics Podcasts

Welcome to Island Influencers, where we share stories of successful business owners, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders based or with influence in the Isle of Man. This podcast is brought to you by Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, because great Financial Planning has the power to change your life.


United Kingdom


Welcome to Island Influencers, where we share stories of successful business owners, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders based or with influence in the Isle of Man. This podcast is brought to you by Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, because great Financial Planning has the power to change your life.






01624 660220


John Keggin, Managing Director at Island Escapes Limited

Welcome back to another captivating episode of Island Influencers. This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to the one and only John Keggin, Managing Director at Island Escapes Limited. John's story takes us back to his upbringing within a family deeply woven into the fabric of Manx tourism. Imagine generations warmly welcoming guests to the picturesque The Tower Hotel in Port Erin. From a young age, John had always wanted to own his own business and in 2018, his dreams came reality with Island Escapes. Drawing from a wealth of diverse experiences across marketing and operations, John paints an authentic picture of the highs and lows that come with forging your path as an entrepreneur. He bares his soul, revealing moments of utmost fulfillment and the challenges that tested his mettle. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, and the pandemic that swept the globe was a true test of resilience for many. John candidly shares his personal encounter with burnout, a consequence of navigating the storm as both a business owner and an individual. John's a driving force propelling the Isle of Man's tourism to new heights. You won't want to miss the pearls of wisdom and stories that John Keggin unveils. So, grab your favourite headphones, find your cherished quiet corner, and join me in episode 96 of Island Influencers. Useful links: Book: The Treasure House: Discovering Enlightenment Exactly Where You Are by Mike Kewley


Island Influencer Jessica Le Merle

This week, I had the privilege of exploring the world of Island Influencer Jessica Le Merle, Director and Co-founder of Afundi, a full-service development and collaborative design agency that empowers brands and businesses to stand out from the crowd. Since moving from Durban, South Africa, to the Isle of Man in 2014, Jessica has made her mark in the local digital landscape. In our conversation, Jessica takes us through her life story and back to lockdown. With boundless creativity and determination, Jessica and her partner and co-founder Nicolas embarked on a whirlwind project, conceptualising and building the groundbreaking website known as This online food ordering platform was specifically designed to support local catering and hospitality businesses during the challenging times of the coronavirus lockdown. Remarkably, Jessica and Nic never sought personal gain from this project. Their motivation came from a deep love for their craft and a strong desire to support their community during difficult times. But there's more to Jessica than Afundi, when she's not hard at work, she indulges in her passion for coffee, embracing each cup's artistry and complexity. She's also a proud new mum to her son Harrison and Charlie, her adorable Cavapoo, and a dedicated explorer, always seeking new adventures. Join me in episode 95 as I share the inspiring story of Island Influencer Jessica Le Merle, an influential force on the Isle of Man's digital landscape and a true catalyst for positive change within the community. Useful links: Afundi Website - Afundi Instagram - Instagram (personal) - Afundi LinkedIn - LinkedIn (personal) - Afundi Facebook -


Island Influencer Ciara Sowerby

This week I have the pleasure of sitting down with an incredible individual who has significantly impacted their career and community. Island Influencer Ciara Sowerby is a Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate striving to affect change professionally and personally. Ciara admits she has had a deep curiosity and a desire to explore new things. She dabbled in various sports and hobbies from a young age, and that enthusiasm carried over into adulthood. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to do some incredible things. From attending Space School at NASA to travelling to Hong Kong with the Air Cadets, she has always embraced opportunities that come her way. This attitude has played a significant role in shaping who she is today. As a co-founder of the Isle of Man Student Climate Network, Ciara is dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for a sustainable future. It's a cause close to her heart, and she believes it's crucial for us to take action to protect our environment. Additionally, as a Biosphere Youth representative, she represents the youth in the Isle of Man community and contributes to preserving our island's unique natural and cultural heritage. I'm excited to share our conversation in episode 94 of Island Influencers. Ciara Sowerby’s experiences and insights are 100% worth listening to. The world needs to hear her voice! Useful links: Instagram at @ciara_sowerby Twitter at @ciarasowerby


Island Influencer Bettina Roth

My Island Influencer this week is Bettina Roth, Chief Executive, Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. Bettina has an extensive background in the financial services industry, boasting a wealth of international experience gained from her impressive career in both the regulatory and private sectors. With a strong track record of professional achievement, Bettina has held senior positions in various jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Abu Dhabi Global Market, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. With such an impressive background and an array of accolades, Bettina Roth is undoubtedly a leader in the field of financial services. Her appointment as CEO of the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority came at a pivotal stage in its development, as the organisation strives to protect consumers, combat financial crime, and maintain confidence in the financial services sector through robust prudential supervision. During our conversation, we delve into Bettina's insights and gain a deeper understanding of her vast experience. We explore her remarkable journey, discuss her vision for the future, and uncover valuable insights into the world of financial services regulation. Additionally, Bettina aims to inspire other women to pursue senior roles and continue spearheading innovation within the Isle of Man's regulatory landscape. So, here is my conversation with Bettina Roth in episode 93 of Island Influencers


Island Influencer Joanne Posey

This week, my Island Influencer is a true pioneer in nutrition and menopause, Joanne Posey. Hailing from the Isle of Man, Joanne is an expert in her field, dedicated to helping individuals and groups navigate the challenges of menopause and find relief from their symptoms. But Joanne's influence doesn't stop there. She also works with organisations, empowering them to support their staff during this transformative phase of life, equipping line managers with the tools they need to provide understanding and assistance. Coming from a lineage of entrepreneurs, Joanne has always been ahead of her time. Her passion for researching, investigating, and understanding well-being, wellness, diet, and lifestyle has positioned her at the forefront of her industry. And now, the rest of the world is catching up to her invaluable insights. In this episode, you'll get the chance to listen and learn from my conversation with Joanne Posey. Her deep understanding of the menopause journey and compassionate approach make her a trusted source of support and guidance. Joanne just "gets" what is going on, and you won't want to miss the wisdom she shares. So get ready to be inspired by episode 92 of Island Influencers with the incredible Joanne Posey.


Island Influencer Jackie Betteridge

Welcome to another episode of Island Influencers! This week, I have the privilege of featuring Jackie Betteridge, the remarkable CEO of Crossroads, the largest Third Sector organisation on the Isle of Man. When Jackie took the helm at Crossroads, it was a small organisation, but under her leadership, the workforce has grown by an astounding 500%, and the number of volunteers has increased by 100%. Crossroads is an organisation dedicated to caring for carers, working with families and individuals of all ages. They deliver an impressive 160,000 care hours per year, a testament to their commitment to supporting the community. The work undertaken by Crossroads is both complex and rewarding, addressing the diverse needs of those they serve. Jackie's passions extend beyond her professional role; her tight-knit family holds a special place in her heart. Jackie Betteridge and I delve into the services provided by Crossroads in episode 91, sharing insights into their operations and future plans. From what she reveals, it's evident that her dedication to helping the Isle of Man community is unwavering, and her purpose shines through in everything she does. Join us as we learn from Jackie Betteridge's incredible journey and gain a deeper understanding of Crossroads' invaluable contributions to the Isle of Man community.


Island Influencer Sacha Horsthuis

Welcome to this week's episode of Island Influencers. I am excited to introduce you to Sacha Horsthuis, a dynamic marketeer and a keen sportswoman. Although Manx born, Sacha spent most of her childhood and adolescence in beautiful North Yorkshire in the UK and lived briefly in Saudi Arabia. Sacha returned to the Isle of Man 9 years ago. Sacha and her husband Mark co-own Cycle 360, the Island’s first combined cafe-bike shop and unique events space. Attracting roughly 500 customers every-day through its stand-out timeless brick work, convenience and warm, thought-out interior, Cycle 360 is undoubtedly the busiest and most vibrant daytime venue on the Isle of Man. It has been a staple to so many since its doors opened in 2018. Sacha’s role, in particular, was to create a brand, to attract global bike brands to the brand-new bike shop and, importantly, to attract talented people to work for the company. In episode 90, Sacha shares her journey as a working mother and a “marketing fanatic” who is driven, ambitious, and a self-proclaimed perfectionist. She talks about her mission to constantly absorb knowledge, step outside her comfort zone, and innovate to continue growing professionally. Finally, when I interviewed Sacha, she was still 29. So join me in wishing her a very happy 30th birthday as we dive into this week's conversation with Sacha Horsthuis, whose abundant positivity shines through in everything she does.


Island Influencer Natasha Brown

Natasha Brown is the owner and one of the teachers at Swing in the Isle. She describes herself as an “Essex girl by birth”, admitting money was tight growing up with her twin siblings on a council estate. Natasha met her husband, Craig, thanks to ballroom dancing at Cambridge University. As a former primary school headteacher, she describes herself as "a lifelong learner" Natasha knew from a young age she wanted to be a teacher “and make a difference.” Learning about swing dance and how Natasha’s two passions (teaching and dance) came together was marvellous. Here is an idea… Instead of setting up a new TV subscription, why not set up a Swing dance subscription instead? I’ll let Natasha Brown persuade you herself in episode 89 of Island Influencers. Enjoy!


Island Influencer Joff Whitten

My guest this week is Joff Whitten, an intelligent and creative education leader with over 25 years of experience working in cultural and learning settings. Joff has managed and delivered a diverse and exciting range of successful learning and engagement projects working with organisations of varying sizes, supporting those with little opportunity, especially children and young people, to find the joy and opportunity they need to reach a place of success. He is the Chief Executive Officer at the Children’s Centre (Isle of Man), an entirely independent Manx charity turning difficult life experiences into brighter futures for children, young people and their families. They are based on a farm located just outside of Douglas, offering all sorts of amazing things to the people they work with. Joff is responsible for driving forward a new chapter for the charity, creating and delivering long-term strategies and placing the charity in the hearts and minds of everyone on the island. Joff, who is also a talented musician and artist, says he tries his hardest “to get the best out of people every day.” I hope you enjoy my conversation with Joff Whitten in episode 88 of Island Influencers. "Due to a technical issue in the studio, on this occasion, we could not capture every one of Joff's answers to my usual questions to the standard that we at Island Influencers would feel comfortable putting out. That said, we did manage to learn about the journey that Joff's life took, taking him to where he is today. So please enjoy!"


Island Influencer Angela Clucas

Angela Clucas, the owner of Next Level Nutrition Isle of Man, is a university-qualified nutritionist with over six years of experience coaching people to achieve their weight and health goals. She is passionate about helping people regain control of their health and happiness by prioritising their needs so they can feel in control. Angela is friendly, non-judgemental, and passionate about helping people make life-long changes. Angela describes her life story to me: "I like to make some pretty bold changes, and I have never been afraid of change... it has been a bit of a journey in getting to where I am now." So here is Angela Clucas' journey, in her own words, in Episode 87 of Island Influencers.


Island Influencer Micky Swindale

Micky Swindale is well-known in the Isle of Man’s business community. She was the 1st female President of the Chamber of Commerce and 1st female partner at KPMG here on the island. Micky has been a champion for inclusion and diversity, particularly gender diversity. A keen sportswoman, the opportunity to help drive diversity in sports attracted her to get involved (as Vice President) with the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association. Micky is from the Isle of Man and has always thought of herself as someone from the island. However, she was born and brought up in Nigeria until she was 19. Micky shares her wisdom and life story from her alternative education, life in Manchester, Gibraltar, and participating in triathlons with me! Plus her plans for the future. So what makes Micky Swindale tick? You can find out in episode 86 of Island Influencers; please enjoy.


Island Influencer Rowan Henthorn

In a time of unprecedented global challenges, now more than ever, there is a demand for a shift in how we connect to and interact with our living planet. My Island Influencer this week, Rowan Henthorn, is the owner of Make Good Limited, a new environmental consultancy and lifestyle brand that “helps businesses and communities find practical and enjoyable ways to reduce their environmental impact, whilst connecting with, and caring for the natural world.” “Local girl” Rowan grew up south of the island and then went away to study Ocean Science at Plymouth University. She has also travelled and worked around Australia and Indonesia. Rowan has helped to bring in the single-use plastic legislation to the Isle of Man, has sailed across The Pacific with a group of 13 other women, and educated me on marine megafauna and much more! You can learn more too by listening to Rowan Henthorn in episode 85 of Island Influencers.


Island Influencer Jamie Lewis

This week’s Island Influencer is Jamie Lewis, Founder at COURTESY, helping hospitality brands build, transform and communicate. In addition, Jamie is the Managing Director of Extra Fancy, Co-Founder of Table of Two and Director & Trustee of Isle of Pride. Jamie grew up in Chesterfield during the “new Labour years” with a big focus on education and a big focus on getting people from disadvantaged backgrounds into University. He went to Sheffield University, admitting he “burnt the wick at both ends”, working 20-30 hours a week and partying, Jamie still graduated with a 1st degree in sociology and politics. Although he was (and still is) fascinated by politics and what is happening in the world, most of Jamie’s experience is in the hospitality industry. Jamie has created businesses today steeped in values learnt through working for McDonald’s and Disney in his teens and twenties. Like many of my Island Influencers, Jamie thought he would come to the Isle of Man for a few months and ended up settling here! I particularly enjoyed his chicken nugget – Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics, yarn… Here is my conversation with Jamie Lewis in episode 84* of Island Influencers. Apologies for the sound quality throughout Jamie’s episode. Jamie is a very busy man, and I had been trying to chat with him for a long time, the easiest way to arrange this sooner rather than later was over Zoom. Unfortunately, the sound quality is a little different from what you’d expect from the Island Influencers podcast, however, it is not an episode to be missed.


Island Influencer Shelley Langan-Newton

This week’s Island Influencer Shelley Langan-Newton grew up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where she passed her 11 plus one year early. She moved to the Isle of Man when her son (now 18) was six years old. Shelley admits that she has a going-with-the-flow philosophy which has permeated throughout her career, describing herself as “a strategic, organised, and collaborative executive leader with a passion for empowering people, clients, and partners to achieve their potential.” Her LinkedIn profile reads, “Building kinder organisations to grow with conscience and purpose in the digital world.” This really intrigued me. So I want you now to know what I do about who Shelley is and how she got to where she is today and then share it with you. So here’s my conversation with Shelley Langan-Newton in episode 83 of Island Influencers!


Island Influencer Tracey Brodie

Kicking off season 4 and our first podcast episode of 2023 is Island Influencer Tracey Brodie, Belief Coding® Trainer & Coach. Tracey Brodie grew up in North Wales, her Dad died when she was just 14. From 16, Tracey trained and worked as a beauty therapist for many years, before obtaining a teaching degree and teaching beauty. Her husband Tom’s job enticed them to the Isle of Man and although they were initially only coming for two years they have stayed for over 20, raising three children on the island. I can say that Tracey “arrived here with bells on.” In episode 82, Tracey explains how belief coding changed and saved her life forever. She admits that she was “lost and broken” a year ago and how at 51 she has become her own best friend. Starting out trying to heal herself, and then, along the way, she realised she had a “superpower” to gift to others. It is glaringly obvious that making people happy makes Tracey happy. This week’s conversation with Tracey Brodie will get you thinking and inspire you to turn the mirror on yourself and try to live your best life every day.


Island Influencer Emma Lings

This week my Island Influencer is a pretty rare find especially on the Isle of Man. Emma Lings is a furniture maker creating bespoke handcrafted furniture and naturally dyed textiles. Emma explains that she has only just become self employed since returning to the island from Melbourne, Australia as the pandemic hit. Throughout our conversation it became apparent that if Emma doesn’t know it, she learns it. Emma isn’t afraid to ask questions and shows great determination and hard work in everything she turns her hand to. Do listen to Emma Lings amazing story in episode 81 of Island Influencers!


Island Influencer Jo Cutsforth

My Island Influencer this week is self-funded entrepreneur Jo Cutsforth, her desire in life is to make ‘you and your people shine’. Jo left her home in Warrington at the age of 17 with just £25 in her pocket and a desire to ‘go off and do her own thing’. So she took a ‘hop skip and a jump’ one-way ticket to the Isle of Man. Her story is one huge life lesson for us all. There is no doubt that Jo has suffered hardship, she talks of living at a homeless refuge with her two small children and only being able to start her career at the age of 32. However, Jo doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her she says, “I'm not getting the violins out. I'm just telling you the story.” She just wants to encourage everyone to keep learning and get behind people and help them be valued. Jo’s independence, resilience and positive attitude have helped her survive. Do listen to this week’s conversation with Jo Cutsforth in episode 80 of Island Influencers!


Island Influencer David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson has worked in the financial services market for 40 years, the last 30 of which have seen him and his family based on the Isle of Man. He joined NFU Mutual in 2012 to lead the Isle of Man office going forward and personally provide and ensure the team continues to offer the highest level of service possible to new and existing clients alike for their personal and commercial queries. He reminisces about life growing up in Singapore and the North East of England and shares how he ended up settling on the island and raising a family. David’s great passions are football and golf. Do listen to this week’s conversation with David Wilkinson in episode 79 of Island Influencers!


Island Influencer MaryBeth Coll

This week I talked with one half of the husband and wife duo who founded the sparkling winery and bar here on the island - Foraging Vinters. MaryBeth Coll is from the east coast of America, with a background in art school and law! She explains how she travelled a lot as a child with her father's job and then continued to do so after meeting her Australian husband, Ian, who was in the army. She shares with us how finally settling on the Isle of Man helped them not only avoid hurricanes! but also fuel their idea to produce non-grape based varieties of sparkling wine, ciders, ginger beer and a range of rum. The island community has embraced the seaside winery, and it is a magical place to relax and unwind with a fantastic view, rain or shine! Listen to MaryBeth Coll’s enlightening life story in episode 78 of Island Influencers.


Island Influencer Louise Whitelegg

This week Sharon talks to Island Influencer Louise Whitelegg, Christian Aid Isle of Man, Co-ordinator aka “Mrs Marshmallow lady!” Louise addresses her life, growing up in poverty and being the beneficiary of other people's kindness. She fought hard to get into university and gained an Environmental Health degree. In this week’s episode, Louise provides a fascinating insight into the astounding work that she and her colleagues at Christian Aid do. In episode 77 of Island Influencers we find out what makes Louise Whitelegg tick. She shares her wealth of experience and knowledge through wondrous stories, painting vivid pictures of her “harshest, awful, best and most brilliant” life experiences from exploring the world. She reminds us to push our personal and professional boundaries and not take anything for granted.