Tara Tomes – She/Her

Owner and Managing Director

Tara is EAST VILLAGE.’s Founder and Managing Director, driving forward business strategy, business development and brand.

She’s passionate about PR, people and paying it forward and is regularly invited to speak in the media and at events on the PR industry, team culture and her charity projects.

EAST VILLAGE. was founded by Tara Tomes, back in 2013. 

She’s the driver behind the brand and is focused on building an agency for the future through her three passions: PR, People and Paying-it-Forward. 

Having specialised in lifestyle PR from the start of her career, she’s delivered campaigns for the likes of Stella McCartney, BBC Good Food Show, Taste of Birmingham, Style Birmingham Live and International Dance Festival Birmingham. Her experience working with local independent retailers, internationally renowned fashion brands, acclaimed entertainment venues, award-winning arts venues and everything in between, means that TeamEV taps into strategy and expertise that spans more than 13 years in the industry.  

Tara set up EAST VILLAGE.  to create an agency that she’d be proud to work for. Centred around a strong team culture, she’s passionate about driving a people-led agency; from flexible working and free mental health support, to team socials and creative idea generation, Tara is focused on driving innovation and loves embracing change. 

A respected lifestyle PR expert, Tara is often asked to speak at events and on webinars ranging on everything from being a woman in business, embracing flexible working, and driving Diversity & Inclusion. Some of her recent engagements include events for Selfridges Birmingham, TAG Network West Midlands, and Birmingham Metropolitan College.

Alongside EV., Tara is a Non-Exec Director at TAG Network West Midlands, founding member of BPFS Black Leaders Network, co-founder of Birmingham Sales and Events Forum and sits on the Midlands Retail & Hospitality Forum (MRF) committee. 

She also co-founded homeless charity Let’s Feed Brum, sits on the management committee for iShelter (which runs Tabor House in Digbeth), and is a patron for SIFA Fireside. In addition, Tara also sits on the West Midlands Development Board for Breast Cancer Haven.

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Nicole Gauntlett – She/Her

Business Development Manager

Nicole is EAST VILLAGE.’s Business Development Manager.

She heads up business development, brand partnerships and creative direction for the agency.

Nicole is EV.’s Business Development Manager, leading on new business, brand collaborations and creative copywriting for the agency.

She joined TeamEV six years ago and was Account Manager before moving to a new role that focuses on client relationships and employer brand.

Nicole is passionate about developing relationships and is both dedicated and ambitious when it comes to driving the agency forward. Priding herself on ideas that ‘pack a punch’, Nicole is now the go-to for all-things business development.

Her greatest achievement, however, is giving birth to her very own mini members of #TeamEV, Vivi and Ever. After returning to EAST VILLAGE. at the start of 2019, Nicole found there was a lack of support for mums still looking to grow their careers and develop their skills. She launched Grow Mama; a group providing support and resources for emerging mothers in business. Added to this, she was coordinator for Red Box Project Solihull, a charity that supports young women is schools experiencing period poverty.

When she’s not momming or drinking a cold glass of Sauv with the EV. girl gang, Nicole has a passion for interior design and is constantly on Pinterest looking for new ideas for her house renovation.

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Emma Victoria Stokes – She/Her

Freelance Digital Marketer

Emma joins TeamEV as a Freelance Social Media Manager and Copywriter, building on her experience as one of the region’s most respected bloggers.

She supports us with a wide range of social media and digital marketing strategies.

At the start of October 2020, Emma returned from the security of maternity leave and ventured back out into the big scary world as a Freelance Social Media Manager and Copywriter once more. After building a working relationship with Emma over the years, EAST VILLAGE. welcomes Emma to the team to support with the social media.

Having graduated from The University of Sheffield in 2010, Emma went on to build a strong portfolio, working with an impressive client list. She started her own blog in 2013 after leaving university and it wasn’t long before she took the leap and created her own digital marketing business.

Since then, Emma has worked with a wide range of social media and copywriting clients across the UK and not only helps businesses to flourish with their digital marketing strategies, but also supports with written content for blogs and social media. She specialises in lifestyle, hospitality and professional services; and her written work and photography skills coincide nicely with her food and lifestyle blog: emmavictoriastokes.com.

In her spare time, Emma likes to create boards on Pinterest, drink buckets of peppermint tea and float like a mermaid in the bath. Most importantly, she’s a dedicated mum to baby Sebastian (who has just as much of an appetite as she does) and, when time allows, she likes to sit back on the sofa with a glass of red wine and watch terrible horror films.

A few things that might surprise you about Emma: she is left-handed, a female world champion in Tae Kwon Do, has an extremely long tongue that can touch her nose, and even has her own page on IMDB after appearing as an extra in a British zombie film.

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Lisa Piddington – She/Her

Freelance Copywriter

Lisa has over 30 years’ experience working in the industry and joins the team as a freelance copywriter.

She’s an award-winning journalist and social media influencer, having worked for top luxury brands including Harvey Nichols, Heaven Skincare, and the Mailbox.

Joining us a freelance copywriter is award-winning journalist and social media influencer, Lisa Piddington. With more than 30 years industry experience, Lisa has worked on countless regional titles, most notably as Travel Editor, Head of Features and Assistant Editor for the Birmingham Post.

She turned freelance in 2003, building a reputation as a leading lifestyle PR consultant and social media manager working with a number of top luxury brands including Harvey Nichols, Heaven Skincare, the Mailbox and Radisson SAS hotels.

Lisa has developed and taught MBA and BSc Business Communication courses at The University of Birmingham, worked with primary schools as part of the city’s Write On project and has organised career sessions with local schools encouraging pupils to consider writing as a profession. She has also led Instagram training with business looking to boost their social presence, and her own account Lisa Loves Vintage – which focusses on her love for home decor – has more than 65,000 followers.

She writes regularly for lifestyle magazines in the region, including Dluxe, Sixty9, Style Birmingham, Staffordshire Living and Jaime.

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Bambus – He/Him

CEO (Chief Excitement Officer)

Bambus joined TeamEV in January, after stealing the hearts of our MD, Tara, and her fiancé.

He moved up from Bristol to Brum (like his colleague, Hattie) at the start of the year, and has been a local celebrity ever since… taking pictures with fans on his daily walks, and enjoy puppichinos from his friends at Starbucks on Colmore Row on the regular.

Full of fun and incredible at cuddles, Bambus is dedicated to increasing the profile of the chows.

He’s also prolific on social media and you can catch regular pupdates on his @olly_and_bambus account. What’s more, you can see the adventures of him and his sister on @colmorechows, as they enjoy life in Colmore BID.

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