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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.

LISA KELLY – HEAD OF BTC UK & IRELAND

Lisa assumed the role of Head of BTC UK & Ireland in January 2016. She is also a member of the BASF Plc Leadership team. Having a strong passion for diversity & inclusion, Lisa represents BASF with WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). She also currently Chairs the Executive Committee for BACS (British Association for Chemical Specialities)

Her working career started as a Laboratory Technician at Magnesium Elektron (part of British Alcan) and then as a Sales Correspondent at Degussa Ltd.

Having joined the Fine Chemical Sales business at BASF plc in 1989, Lisa was delegated to Switzerland between 2001-2004 where she was North Europe Aroma Chemicals Manager. On her return to the UK she became Head of Sales Detergents & Formulators for BTC UK, BASF’s in-house chemical distribution company.

ANA AVALIANI – DIRECTOR OF ENTERPRISE & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPEMENT at ROYAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

Ana Avaliani is the Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development at the Royal Academy of Engineering supporting engineering and technology innovators and entrepreneurs looking to solve today’s most complex economic and social challenges. Ana started her career in a telecommunications start-up with a role focusing on technology scouting, finding and implementing novel technologies. Ana has extensive experience in innovation management across public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. Prior to joining the Academy, Ana worked at PA Consulting Group, technology and innovation consultancy firm, leading on high profile projects including the setup of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub in Lebanon, Beirut.

 

HARRIET KELSALL – HARRIET KELSALL BESPOKE JEWELLERY

Harriet Kelsall is one of the most respected bespoke designers and business trailblazers working in the UK jewellery industry today. She is the 2017 HSBC Forward Ladies “Retail Business Woman of the year”, was Everywoman’s “Retail Woman of the Year” in 2011, one of The Institute of Directors magazine’s six “women who have most changed the business world” in 2014 and is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and of the City of London.

She is the chair of the National Association of Jewellers and a non executive director for both the Responsible Jewellery Council and the British Hallmarking Council. She is a regular keynote speaker on ethics and CSR, advised the government on jewellery skills as part of the Creative and Cultural Skills Academy and speaks nationally and internationally about responsible business. Harriet is passionate about helping creative business flourish and has written a book on the subject called “The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business: How to turn your talent into a career”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ANNA KEELING - MANAGING DIRECTOR, BOEING DEFENCE UK LTD

Anna joined Boeing as Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK in 2019 from GKN Aerospace. She is responsible for Boeing’s UK significant defence programmes, people and sites and the organisation’s growth, alignment and business development. Boeing, across all businesses, operates at 65 sites and employs 2,500 people directly and many more through a significant domestic supply chain. 

 

Anna has two decades of global leadership experience in the aerospace and automotive sectors. Before joining Boeing, she was Senior Vice President Business Transformation, leading GKN’s business improvement plan to drive profit, margin and cash and Senior Vice President Commercial, where she assumed responsibility for all GKN Aerospace’s commercial governance and ensured an aligned customer strategy across the business. 

PIP WILKINS - CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRITISH FRANCHISE ASSOCIATION 

Pip Wilkins is the Chief Executive of the British Franchise Association (bfa). With more than 20 years’ experience in the franchise sector, Pip has worked her way up within the Association, gaining insight from all areas of the business and the franchise industry. She is well-known and highly regarded in franchising for her dedication and depth of knowledge. Pip regularly speaks at conferences and seminars both domestically and internationally, as well as writing on franchising matters for national, local and franchising trade press. Pip is also a regular judge for the annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, the Franchise Marketing Awards and Global Franchise Awards. Pip represents the UK at both the European Franchise Federation (EFF) and World Franchise Council (WFC). The bfa has grown to be one of the largest franchise associations in Europe, and one of the most successful associations in the world.
Debra White

DEBRA WHITE 

Recently retired Customer Experience Director, Small Business Banking, HSBC UK Debra White has been a Retail and Commercial Banker with HSBC Group for the last 40 years and in September 2016 took on the national role of Customer Experience Director for Business Banking Small Business. Previously Debra was the Regional Director for Small Business in the North region. Debra spent three years as a Retail Area Manager developing a team of twenty Branch Managers in West Yorkshire and leading the Premier and Wealth proposition. Following this Debra was a Retail Branch Manager at key flagship branches in Huddersfield, York and then became a Branch Director in Leeds City delivering strategy and leading a customer service ethos. In her retirement Debra is now the secretary and volunteer at a local foodbank and NHS Responder.  

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.

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’.

PROFESSOR GEORGE LODORFOS – LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY

Professor George Lodorfos is Dean of Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett University.

He is an electrical and electronic engineer by first degree, he holds Masters degrees in Automation and Control as well as in Innovation and Technology Management, and a PhD in Strategic Management of Research and Development. In addition, he has supervised to completion and he has examined many PhDs both in the UK and Europe and is an external examiner for two UK universities.

He has extensive practical and academic experience in the field of Strategic Management, R&D and Adoption of New Technologies and Innovation. In addition, he has done extensive research and enterprise work in the areas of buyer behaviour with particular interest in online purchasing and the use of technology to enable the sustainable growth of businesses.

Furthermore, he has done extensive research and enterprise work in the areas of Small Businesses Development and Growth.

Previous

JUDGES

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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