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THE JUDGES

The FL National Awards are judged by an independent judging panel, comprising professional men and women, successful entrepreneurs and business people.

RACHEL ENGWELL – GRANT THORNTON UK

Rachel is Head of Tax at Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT) in Yorkshire & the North East. She started her career with Ernst & Young LLP on their graduate program after completing a Law degree. She’s been advising businesses for 20 years but is best known for working with private businesses & their owners.

RICHELLE SHUSTER – GRANT THORNTON UK

Richelle leads an innovative service called Growth 365 for Grant Thornton. A service designed to support CEOs and their management teams to think differently about how to accelerate growth, adapt and innovate. A background in design has given her a valuable tool-kit to manage change for others.

 

Through a creative and commercial lens, Richelle has supported clients across a range of sectors to develop a sustainable growth strategy and has contributed to regional and national Government policies to drive economic growth. Her views on the importance of enterprise and creativity in education has led to voluntary roles as an LEP enterprise advisor and ambassador for Founders4Schools.

SUSANNA LAWSON – ONEFILE

Susanna Lawson worked in the health and social care sector and witnessed huge inefficiencies in the training delivery models which drove her to develop OneFile, the leading e-portfolio software in the education sector. Susanna is also the overall winner of The Forward Ladies National Awards 2017.

KAREN HARPER – BASF, UK & IRELAND

Karen is HR Specialist/ Generalist experienced in working on a regional basis within a multi-national organisation. Numerate and analytical with significant experience in Compensation and Benefits for employees and senior executives. A qualified Job Evaluator, experienced in leading job evaluation projects from conception to implementation.

SAHAR HASHEMI – FOUNDER OF COFFEE REPUBLIC

In 1995 Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m. Giving up a job as a lawyer in London, she staked everything on a dream – and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed a nation of tea drinkers into one obsessed with ‘triple half-caf lattes’.

DEBRA WHITE

Debra White has recently embarked on early retirement after 40 years as an experienced and accomplished Retail and Commercial banker with the HSBC group. Debra was responsible for the delivery of Client Experience within Business Banking UK nationally and is a passionate leader and advocate of women in business. Debra enjoys looking after her two beautiful grandchildren and the freedom to make choices with her time supporting family, friends and the local community.

ANNE BLANDEN – FW CAPITAL

Anne’s recent background (22 years!) is in financial services specifically in investing in SMEs primarily across the North of England, and she is currently working with FW Capital who manage a £100m of the £300m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. Prior to that her earlier career was in operational food service and hotel management in the leisure sector.

RACHEL HANNAN – ANGEL INVESTOR

Rachel started with a successful career with one of the big 4 accountancy firms, working in tax, corporate finance and consulting. In late 2002 she co-founded a leadership and executive search consultancy that became a multi-million market leader in under 8 years, before her successful exit in 2010. Since then she has been instrumental in the success of a range of high growth businesses as an active Angel Investor, Chairman, Non-Executive Director and Board advisor.

MATT TURNER – GROUP CEO TASTECARD

Matt is the founder and owner of the world’s three largest diners’ clubs, including tastecard, with 12,000 participating restaurants and over 4m members. With turnover of £24m and a net profit of £12.5m, the Dining Club Group was recently valued at over £125m.

LINDA PLANT – FASHION & STYLE ENTREPRENEUR

Linda established herself through a series of challenging executive roles and was a pioneer in women’s collective ascent to leadership roles in the professional world. She is a self-made woman, and success has given her the freedom to enjoy all that life has to offer while remaining true to her values. Most days Linda is in London, running her successful property and interior design business. You may also have seen Linda grilling Alan Sugar’s candidates on The Apprentice.

PROFESSOR NIGEL LOCKETT – LANCASTER UNIVERSITY

Nigel Lockett is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University Management School. He is a senior academic, experienced manager, entrepreneur and community leader. In 2015, he was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to enterprise in higher education and leadership of the successful submission for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship and the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the University of Leeds. Nigel also has over 25 years’ experience as a company director, with a track record in managing start-up, joint venture and social enterprises.

CATHERINE DORAN – NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CONSULTANT ADVISOR

Catherine worked in IT corporate life for over 40 years, in a number of different sectors (Telecoms, FS, Transport & Logistics). For 20 of those years she was a CIO, with a specialism in large scale delivery, driving business and IT transformation. She now serves as a NED for the Coventry Building Society and also works with clients in an advisory capacity regarding their strategic technology programmes.

AJAZ AHMED – FOUNDER OF FREESERVE

Ajaz Ahmed is best known for being the founder of Freeserve, which was once the UK’s largest ISP and is now known as Orange broadband. He came up with the idea when he bought a computer and nobody in the store could tell him how to get into the internet, the rest, as they say, is history. He persuaded Dixons to launch Freeserve and it was eventually sold by Dixons to France Telecom for £1.6bn.

PROFESSOR GEORGE LODORFOS – LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY

Ajaz Ahmed is best known for being the founder of Freeserve, which was once the UK’s largest ISP and is now known as Orange broadband. He came up with the idea when he bought a computer and nobody in the store could tell him how to get into the internet, the rest, as they say, is history. He persuaded Dixons to launch Freeserve and it was eventually sold by Dixons to France Telecom for £1.6bn.

JAN FLAWN CBE – FOUNDER OF PJ CARE
PJ Care Ltd is a leading and award-winning provider of specialist neurological care and neuro-rehabilitation for people with progressive or acquired neurological conditions. Leaving school with no qualifications Jan became a registered nurse, rising to be a senior manager in the Department of Health. In 2000 Jan started PJ Care after seeing young people with neurological conditions living inappropriately in care homes for the elderly.

MARGARET CASELY-HAYFORD – NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & PORTFOLIO WOMAN

Margaret was for nine years Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary for the John Lewis Partnership. After 30 years as a lawyer, she decided to transition into a Boardroom portfolio career when she was appointed Chair of the charity Action Aid UK. She is also a Government appointed non-executive director of NHS England and is on the Metropolitan Police Panel that is overseeing investigations into police corruption.

BILL HENRY – INDEPENDENT EXECUTIVE COACH

In 2015 Bill retired as a partner of PwC where he led the Risk Assurance practice for the North of England. Having also been a partner coach in the firm he now operates as a qualified independent executive coach. In addition he is a non-executive director and a trustee of a large multi academy trust whose intake are among the most deprived areas of the UK.

EMMA MCGUIGAN – SENIOR MD OF TECHNOLOGY UK & IRELAND FOR ACCENTURE

Emma McGuigan is the senior MD of technology UK & Ireland for Accenture and the business sponsor for the global technology talent strategy. Her expertise is in large scale systems architecture and delivery management, and during her career she has worked with clients on large financial services programmes.

ALI GAYWARD – UK COUNTRY MANAGER, EASYJET

Ali has over thirty years’ experience in the travel industry working with British Airways, American Express Travel, Sabre, American Airlines, ASM, AG Consultancy and now easyJet.

 

Ali is easyJet’s UK Country Manager, responsible for enabling easyJet to create the winning environment in the UK and overseas. Responsibilities include being the ‘face and voice’ of easyJet, building and maintaining active external relationships with local government, regulatory bodies, media/press, airports and tourism bodies. Ali is responsible for the revenue, profit contribution and route performance of flights operating both from the UK and also in some overseas markets.

 

Ali has direct responsibility for 58 aircraft, contributing to easyJet’s £1.01 billion worth of revenues each year in the UK.

ABU BUNDU-KAMARA – GLOBAL DIVERSITY & INCLUSION LEADER, BOEING

Abu is an inspirational educator, diversity & inclusion strategist and thought a leader who is passionate about helping leaders and companies embrace change in a New World Marketplace. With a proven track record and over 20 years’ experience in business, leadership, talent and human resource management, he works with leaders to embed diversity & inclusion in their decision making through both system redesign and leadership development. In October 2017, Boeing appointed him to the new position of Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader for Europe, Russia and Israel (ERI).

 

In addition to his fantastic role at Boeing, Abu supports a number of organisations focused on inclusion and sit on the board for Catalyst Europe, NCTJ (The National Council for the Training of Journalists) and the Journalism Diversity Fund. He is also a founding member of the National Equality Standard (NES). And 30% Club working group, and chair a UK Network for Diversity Practitioners. Abu speaks regularly at conferences on the topic of inclusion. He has previously worked for Pearson, Financial Times, The Economist, Penguin Books and BAE Systems.

PETRA WETZEL – FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, WEST

Bavaria-born Petra is the founder and Managing Director of WEST- an award-winning brewery, beer hall and events space in the iconic Templeton building in Glasgow Green. In 2016 Petra set-up the WEST Women fund, providing financial and personal support to other budding female entrepreneurs in Scotland.

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Tastecard
Sky Bet Careers
Institute of directors iod
BASF
GKN
Yorkshire Water
Grant Thronton
CocaCola
Leeds beckett

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