A world-renowned speaker and customer service expert is to take centre stage in his native North East next month, as part of a first-of-its-kind business festival.

Geoff Ramm, author of the Celebrity Service and Celebrity Service Superstars, has performed on stages spanning six continents over the past decade, from Australia to Japan, Ecuador, the US and South Africa.

However, the business expert’s next gig will see him return to his beloved Sunderland, as the South Tyneside native and lifelong Sunderland AFC fan performs under the spotlight at the city’s first business festival, taking place from October 4 to October 8.

Having previously been hired to deliver training and motivational keynotes to executives and teams from global brands such as McDonald’s, Emirates, Specsavers and Warner Bros, Geoff will deliver a free in-person talk to attendees of the inaugural City of Sunderland Business Festival at the Stadium of Light, covering his take on customer service and customer experience with his number one requested topic, Celebrity Service.

Speaking ahead of the festival, he said: “As a proud North Easterner and a lifelong Sunderland AFC fan, I’m absolutely delighted to have been asked to deliver a keynote speech at the first ever City of Sunderland Business Festival.

“Over the past decade, the change in the city’s skyline has been transformational, from the redevelopment of Seaburn and Roker to the construction of the Northern Spire bridge and the cranes standing high over the former Vaux site.

“Every time I come home, there’s something new happening, and I’m delighted to be sharing the stage with many of the people behind this change and helping position this fantastic city as one that is open and ready for business.”

Delivered by Sunderland Business Partnership – a collective of more than 50 businesses from or with an interest in Sunderland – and sponsored by Sunderland City Council, the Festival will combine in-person events with virtual sessions, roundtables and talk-ins to bring to life the vibrant business scene in the area.

While there will be an emphasis on Sunderland’s businesses, many of the discussions will appeal to businesspeople from outside of the city.

“While it’ll be fantastic to meet and speak with many of the city’s businesses, it’ll also be great to hear from those outside of the city, not only in terms of how they’re coping post-pandemic, but also to hear their views and perceptions of Sunderland,” he added.

“With brands such as Ocado, Barclays, Just Eat and Amazon all investing in the city in recent years, there’s no reason why this festival can’t act as a shop front for the city and really put us in pole position to attract further inward investment, and I’m delighted to be involved.”

Leading experts and opinion formers regionally, nationally and globally, will be part of the line-up for business-focused events, while residents attending the Recruitment Fair at the Stadium of Light will be supported with information on training options, job opportunities and guidance, as well as a lively line-up of sessions at the Bridges shopping centre, including speed careers “dating”, an entrepreneurs day and a spotlight on homegrown businesses which started life as a hobby and have become hugely successful.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, headline sponsor of the event which will culminate in the Foundation of Light’s 20th anniversary dinner on Friday, October 8, said: “Having delivered speeches to some of the world’s biggest brand names, I’m sure I speak for everyone involved when I say how delighted we are to have Geoff joining us for the festival.

“Not only will it be a great way for businesses to network, learn new skills and promote their employment opportunities, but it’ll be a great way to position Sunderland in front of the right sets of eyes in the world of business and we’re delighted to be the headline sponsor of the event.”

For further information about Sunderland Business Festival visit www.sbfestival.co.uk.

For information about the programme of events at the Bridges and the Recruitment Festival, contact bernice@sortedpr.com.