Judges


The awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts, the judging is a rigorous two-stage process including pre-scoring to determine shortlists and a judging meeting where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide the winning entries.

From a transparency perspective, we may video aspects of the judging session to show on the evening and give entrants an insight into why a winning entry was chosen.

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Judges

Tracey Abayeta | HR (Vice President) - Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Manager at Lazard | FOUNDER OF OPPPORTUNITY CENTRAL

Tracey is passionate about working with people to fulfil their full potential in the workplace and knows from experience that sometimes one’s background can get in the way of this. As part of her work, she also works with organisations as a certified coach to help them create better work environments to ensure they get the best out of their most important asset – their people. She has extensive experience in structuring cross industry and in-house mentoring programmes with the aim of developing talent and helping build stronger professional relationships for career success. Her unique career path - which started in investment banking - enables her to understand challenges that underrepresented talent face in the corporate world. She is currently a VP at Lazard within their HR function where she focuses on Inclusion & Diversity and Talent Development. Prior to joining Lazard, Tracey spent 6 years working at diversity recruitment charity SEO London running their Investment Banking, Asset Management and HerCapital Programmes. She is also founder of Opportunity Central (a talent coaching and consulting business).Tracey is a firm believer that strong professional relationships are a critical component to career success and a strong company culture will result in this happening organically.

Ama Afrifa-Tchie | Head of People, Wellbeing & Equity - Mental Health | First Aid England

Ama Afrifa-Tchie is a valiant cultural builder, who's specialism spans across people experience, workplace culture, diversity & inclusion, mental health and wellbeing and corporate responsibility. She is experienced in leading the design, analysis, and implementation of people-centric products/services, inclusion & wellbeing initiatives. She works with senior leadership, management teams, and employee engagement to; embed and integrate organisational culture through behaviour, processes and systems, and seeks to promote a positive, inclusive and supportive work environment and company culture by developing and evolving programmes and initiatives that support the organisation’s mission and values. Ama has built her career and expertise (over 14 years ‘experience) with different industries such as - start-ups, tech, professional services, legal, financial services, media & entertainment. Ama has an LLB in Law and a MA in Public Relations and Public Communications. She is a Fellow of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce UK, vice-chair of MAC-UK Board of Trustees, a Governor on the Board of The Boxing Academy and the former Mentoring Chair of Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WITC UK). Ama’s interests includes travelling, fitness, outdoors activities, theatre and movies, animation and interior decor. She is an avid foodie and loves spending time with family and friends.

Charles Alberts | Head of Wellbeing Solutions | Aon

Charles is Head of Wellbeing Solutions at Aon UK, a team of experts who work with a diverse range of employers to make health and wellbeing a strategic priority at all levels of the organisation. During his 20+ year career he has been at the centre of helping organisations drive cultural change, influencing hearts and minds, to achieve positive outcomes for all stakeholders. Drawing on his lived experience of mental health issues, Charles is a strong advocate for the role the workplace can play to protect and enhance mental health and wellbeing. He is a Chartered Manager, a qualified Mental Health First Aider and holds an MSc in Workplace Health and Wellbeing. Charles represents Aon at the Manchester Business School National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work and serves on the Board of the mental health charity Dorset Mind.

LinkedIn profile

Shahed Ashraf | Global Director, Diversity & Inclusion  | Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Shahed has over 30 years HR experience in a wide range of industries holding various local, regional, European and Global HR roles. He started his career initially with the UK National Health Service and then moved into the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the Companies he has worked for include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Travelport ( I.T Company), GE and he has been with Ferring for 5 years. Shahed’s main role is to drive the culture change, establish systems and processes to promote Ferring as a truly Diverse and Inclusive Company. This also includes ensuring that access to its healthcare services is open to all regardless of their background and working towards eliminating any bias that may exist. Shahed is passionate about making a real difference for all employees within Ferring and building strategies that enable Ferring to be recognised as to truly diverse and inclusive Company. His personal mantra is “Can someone like me progress within my Company “ with “me” referring to someone’s background whatever that maybe.

LinkedIn profile

Deborah Brown | Director | Grey Dove Limited

Deborah has been working with organizations in the field of business change and its impact on people and culture. Delivering on assignments across a variety of sectors her approach is always commercial with a blend of considered strategy and effective implementation. With a deep understanding of Financial Services, Deborah has worked in Banking, Asset Management and Fintech. Other sectors include Manufacturing, Energy, Social Enterprise and Mining. Her work focuses on three distinct but connected areas, firstly Business Change where she seeks to understand how a client business works, what the definable stages of the change might be and their impact. Secondly, People Change, working with clients to examine current skills, capabilities, knowledge and behaviours and what is needed to ‘move the dial’ for the organisation. Thirdly, Culture Change, partnering with clients to develop a credible model that is built on shared values, underpinned by a strong communications strategy and operational plan. Deborah gained a postgraduate degree from the University of Leicester in Human Resource Management & Training. Grey Dove Limited is a small consultancy set up in 2008, with a track record of successful projects and the capability to flex a network of partners and local contacts in cities around the world.

Sean Butcher | Head of People Operations | Blue Array |

Sean is the Head of People Operations at Blue Array, the UK’s largest specialist SEO agency. With over 12 years working in the SEO industry, Sean has overseen the growth of Blue Array from a five-person team to a fully operational 50+ person company. Sean is particularly passionate about creating a great place to work through establishing a strong culture and values, as well as the development of people - both as individuals and within teams. In his current role, Sean has devised various frameworks to facilitate the development of his team members, with numerous notable success stories. He also works tirelessly to raise the profile of the company as an employer brand, in what has become an increasingly tough market to recruit within. He is CIPD Level 5 qualified and is currently studying for an ILM Level 5 in Coaching and Mentoring.

Hannah Butcher | Managing Director | Re:signal

Hannah is the Managing Director at Re:signal. She has been working in SEO since 2009 across technical, content and digital PR, and recently moved into a leadership position. Hannah is passionate about topics surrounding mental health, wellness and hidden disabilities.

David Chadderton | Head Of Digital Marketing | Homes For Students

Following a highly successful first career as an RAF Air Combat Instructor flying Tornado fighters around the world, Dave forged a second career in digital consultancy, working freelance and later for digital and lead generation agencies before finding his home 'in-house'. His data-driven approach to ROI-based digital marketing has helped Homes for Students become one of the biggest student accommodation companies in the UK, growing by over 98% in the last 2 years and generating over £200M revenue pa. His fully integrated approach to all digital channels has been applauded by industry leaders such as SEMRush and Ahrefs, and he's constantly pushing the 'norm', preferring to lead in the sector rather than follow. Away from work, Dave enjoys beach walks on the Wirral with his partner and two Jack Russells, Bella and Bobby (aka @sideeyebob). He does other stuff too, but the beach walks are the best.

LinkedIn profile

Rebecca Cook | Associate Director | Charlton Morris

Charlton Morris is a talent solutions business whose vision is to change the way the world sees recruitment by giving our people and our customers the best possible experience. As Associate Director, Rebecca has a huge part to play in that. Leading the people team, she takes responsibility for all elements of talent acquisition, wellbeing, culture and HR for the company's 120 staff based around the UK.

Nick Davison | Head of Wellbeing | John Lewis Partnership

Nick has had a ten year career at John Lewis Partnership, as Head of Wellbeing, where he leads the creation of a unique, award winning health and wellbeing service, uniquely blending internal clinical and support services with a contracted network of specialist services. This person centric model integrates social benefit responsibilities, including five hotels, with the internal employee assistance service, covering financial and emotional support and the occupational health service. It provides proactive and reactive education, engagement and support through both digital and physical delivery channels. Nick’s previously held roles as Head of Strategy at Aviva Health and brings considerable operational, strategic and change management experience from the financial services and health and wellbeing industries. Nick has an MBA from Henley Business School where he majored on the impact of disruptive forces. Outside of work Nick enjoys painting, rugby, skiing and surfing.

Roisin Jane Donnelly | Digital Advisory Board | Coca-Cola |

Roisin Donnelly was Former CMO for Procter & Gamble Northern Europe, leading six countries and 72 leading brands with a turnover of £5 billion and a marketing budget of £0.5 billion. Roisin is an experienced digital and e-commerce leader. Roisin is currently a Non Executive Director of Homeserve and Checkatrade and a former Non Executive Director of Just Eat plc, Holland & Barrett and Bourne Leisure. She is on the Digital Advisory Board for Coca Cola Europacific Partners. She is on the board of IAB UK (Interactive Advertising Bureau) advising the digital industry.

David Ellis | Consultant

David helps organisations with their strategic people issues, particularly during periods of disruption or transformation. He has built and led consulting businesses, latterly as a Big Four partner, for over 25 years. His deep expertise lies in the creation of reward and broader people strategy to support business success. He has a particular interest in the role of wellbeing strategies in a modern employee value proposition and the move away from generic benefits policies to a focus on delivering wellbeing to support an organisation's purpose, culture and values. He is currently building his own (new) consulting business focused on helping his clients with their people agenda relating to reward, performance and wellbeing.

Gemma Ellison | Culture and Learning Director | MAPD Group

Gemma is the Culture and Learning Director at the MAPD Group. MAPD stands for Making a Positive Difference; The MAPD Group believe in a better way of doing business, in creating environments where people can be their authentic selves and make a positive difference. Gemma has a relentless focus on the key jigsaw pieces of a MAPD culture – kindness, a learning culture, transparent communication and supportive leadership – through conversation, innovation, development and hard work! A relentless focus where the essential skills (no soft skills thank you!) are as important as the legal skills and personal development sits alongside professional development. By background, Gemma is an award winning family lawyer having moved into the culture arena because of an obsession with people and leadership!

Nick Entwistle | Founder | Bank of Creative

Nick is the Creative Director and Founder of the Bank of Creativity, working with agencies and brands to create compelling content to engage their audiences and generate big interest in their product or service. Nick has won a variety of awards for his work including Grand Prix at the Roses, Creative Circle, Campaign Big, Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his campaigns have been featured in publications such as Buzzfeed, New York Times, Adweek and The Drum. Nick also received a special invite to Downing Street, won Theo Paphitis’ business award and was named as one of the people of the year in The Drum’s New Years Honours List, as well as being announced as an ambassador of the High Sheriff of Manchester. Nick is also on the board of the MPA whilst being an ambassador for NABS and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Lyndsey Evans | Founder | Collaborative Folks

Lyndsey runs the PR & communications freelance network, Collaborative Folks, which she launched after 20 years working both in house and in agency across public relations and content marketing. Prior to this she was Group Head of PR and Communications at AO.com, where she worked with the Group Executive team to redefine the corporate mission, vision and values, defining the company’s global employer brand, putting compelling storytelling at the heart of the business' people story. As a result, AO World CEO, John Roberts, was ranked 9th in Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs 2016 and 7th in Management Today’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2014 and AO was named Best Employer at the 2015 Retail Week Awards, Glassdoor’s Best Retailer to Work for 2016, Glassdoor Best Company to Work for 2015 and a Sunday Times No.4 Best Mid-Sized Company to Work For in 2013/2014. More recently, as a freelance PR consultant, Lyndsey has undertaken internal communications and culture exercises for CarFinance 247, who wanted to stand out in a highly competitive recruitment market. She has also consulted for several UK franchise businesses on strategies to keep franchisee stakeholders on brand, on culture and engaged.

Gareth Healey | Agency Coach and Mentor | Beyond Noise |

Gareth is the founder of Beyond Noise, a strategy consultancy that works exclusively with established independent marketing agencies. He has spent most of his 25 year career in the agency sector and for 15 years was CEO and co-owner of CreativeRace. Gareth now uses his experience to help agencies grow, and agency owners to unlock their potential.

LinkedIn profile

Rich Holgate | Chief of Staff | Student Beans

Rich Holgate has worked in People Operations for over a decade, bringing a culture first approach to all his work. Now Chief of Staff at Student Beans - a global tech scale-up - we continue to put our culture and employee experience above all else. Our people are our single biggest asset and it's imperative they have a culture they subscribe to.

Navah Hopkins | Vice President Of Strategic Marketing | Adzooma

Navah Hopkins is the VP of Strategic Marketing at Adzooma, a platform that makes managing your ad channels easy and fast. A veteran of the digital marketing industry, she began as an SEO in 2008, transitioning to PPC in 2012. Throughout her career, Navah has made a point to give back and loves sharing lessons learned on the international speaking circuit as well as local universities. She is a frequent contributor to SEJ, SEMrush, and WordStream blogs/webinars. In 2019, she became a founding member of the Paid Search Association, a group dedicated to empowering the next generation of PPC practitioners, as well as serving as a resource for all practitioners to learn from and share with the community.

Janet Houlis | Change, EDI & HR Management Consultant | VALO Consultancy

Janet Houlis is an accomplished business leader who combines commercial aptitude with a people-centric approach to deliver change, improve services, and achieve unparalleled customer excellence within organisations. With over thirty-three years of experience within HR, operations and change management, Janet has a proven track record in directing change interventions, steering strategic planning and execution across multi-disciplined international communities, supporting both large corporates and SMEs within highly regulated environments. She has championed diversity and inclusion throughout her career, supporting clients taking meaningful steps on their EDI, Belonging and anti-racism journeys, ensuring employees remain at the heart of their business. Janet is a trained People Professional and Mentor for Black Women in HR. A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (MCIPD), an Institute of Directors Member, Janet holds a Diploma in Professional Coaching (Distinction), Coaching & Mentoring International (Wolverhampton).

John Jones | CORPORATE PARTNER, | BEEVER AND STRUTHERS

John leads Beever and Struthers' Corporate Team, having been made a Partner in 1999. Beever and Struthers is an award-winning firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors in Manchester, Blackburn and London, and currently rank in the Top 50 firms nationally and Top 10 firms in the North West. John is a local council member of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and has been co-opted to the Partnership Steering Group of the Business Growth Hub. He was Chairman of Pro-Manchester from 2014 - 2015.

LinkedIn profile

Maria Mander | Health & Wellbeing Advisor | The Growth Company

Maria Mander is Health & Wellbeing Advisor at The Growth Company. She provides specialist advice on the Skills For Growth Programme supporting SME’s across Greater Manchester to develop a thriving workforce with healthy, productive, engaged and happy employees. For the last 3 years, Maria ran her own company providing Wellbeing Consultancy to SME’s and corporate companies (both private and public sectors) across the UK. She was an award winner on the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme in recognition of her outstanding commitment. Maria’s corporate background has given a valuable insight into the impact the working environment can have on our health and wellbeing, and ultimately on professional performance. Maria has extensive knowledge of many established approaches to wellbeing and brings a fresh holistic approach. She is a renowned expert on managing stress, mental health and the performance of teams using wellbeing, and applies techniques gained from being a Health Coach, an accredited Mindfulness & Meditation Tutor and Reiki Master Practitioner. Maria is passionate about inspiring others to make positive changes in their lives, both personally and professionally. Her insights are regularly seen through her writing, podcasts and speaking engagements at events. She develops strong partnerships with her clients who like her down-to-earth, friendly and supportive approach.

Natalie Mott | SEO Consultant

Natalie Mott has almost 15 years’ experience in leadership of large teams, mentoring up-and-coming digital marketing specialists, and delivering effective strategies across a range of verticals. She is also an experienced industry speaker, an advocate for mental health support within the marketing industry, and a champion for diversity and inclusion within the field. Professionally qualified in project management and marketing, Natalie is also currently studying for an MBA, her main academic interest being in organisational culture.

Meesh Pallo | Head of Happiness & Engagement | The Happiness Index

Meesh Pallo has been working in people-related positions for the best part of a decade, but has been fascinated by people and how they work for much longer. A curious child, Meesh's love of learning has never dimmed; growth mindset is a core feature in how she supports the evolution of work culture. They use a combination of data and facilitation methods including lego facilitation to reintroduce the concept of play to enhance communication, collaboration and happiness in the workplace. Meesh's role is Head of Happiness and Engagement at The Happiness Index, where they focus on leading THI in their mission to become the best place to work in the world. This is the culmination of a career focused on helping people be their best and most authentic selves at work, borne out of a commitment to true diversity in the workplace.

Tiago Perdiago | CEO | Fractial Mind |

Tiago is an experienced Manager with +25 years of experience in the areas of marketing, sales and retail, having worked in companies such as adidas, Jeronimo Martins, Sonae and FNAC. He has worked for adidas as Portugal Marketing Director and as Director of Brand Activation for the regions of Africa and the Middle East (MENA) where he received many media, activation and retail awards. He also as been part of several jury panels in marketing awards events on the region. A true team player, he has extensive national and international experience in various business areas so he feels at home anywhere on the globe, and in any kind of project. Always pioneering in the use of new technologies to the business world, he took on gamification as his latest challenge in 2017, currently leading Gamification startups in both Portugal and the UK. He achieved is Bachelors in Management in Portugal, followed by an MBA with Marketing focus in the UK. More recently he concluded a Post-Graduation Diploma in Retail Management and another in Arts Markets and Collections. He is also a long time Member of the CIM (MCIM) and (believe it or not!) a Chartered Accountant.

LinkedIn profile

Erin Portsmouth | Director of Corporate Affairs | Oldham Cares

Erin is a Chartered public relations practitioner who started her career in private sector marketing and communications consultancies, but for the past eleven years has worked in the National Health Service. She is currently Director of Corporate Affairs at NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group where she oversees a portfolio including communications, engagement, public affairs, equality and diversity, organisational development and governance. She has a Masters degree in public relations, and served on the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North West Group Committee as a volunteer for ten years, also holding a three year term as Chair. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees of homelessness charity Emmaus Salford in 2017.

Hasan Reza | Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion | Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust 

Hasan graduated from St George’s Medical School in 2016 with a BSc in Biomedical Science and began a career in people management at Royal Mail Group as part of their Operations Manager Graduate Scheme. While at Royal Mail, Hasan had access to excellent training from People Create Ltd encompassing: Change Management, Psychology of Change & Managing People Behaviours, Negotiations, Being a successful Leader. In 2019 Hasan joined the NHS, initially as a Project Support Officer before quickly being appointed a Project Manager in late 2020. In 2021 Hasan moved into his current role as Head of Equality, Diversity and incision at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. Hasan is very passionate about EDI issues. He has also been a lead in providing religious services to refugees stuck in La Jungle Calais during the winter of 2015/2016.

LinkedIn profile

Ric ricrodriguez | Director of Strategic Projects | Vashi |

Ric Rodriguez is an experienced digital marketer, with a background that stretches across agency, brand and vendor-side. Ric is the Director Of Strategic Projects at Vashi, the bespoke fine jewellery brand, where he leads a cross-department function. He joined from NYSE-listed technology company Yext, where he was the European search marketing expert. Prior to this, Ric led teams at well-known agencies, most notably within iProspect, where he grew online market share for two high street finance brands - and at Croud, where he oversaw all SEO activity for a well-known B2B business across over 100 markets. He was also a part of iCrossing’s, multi-award winning L'Oreal team. Ric is co-author of the Amazon bestselling book "Mastering In-House SEO" and often speaks at marketing conferences.

LinkedIn profile

Stephen Seymour | Director of People | Lime fms

Stephen is an experienced HR professional and chartered fellow of the CIPD, who guides, manages and provides strategy on the people function. Currently he works as Director of People for Lime FMS Ltd. an outsourcing business in the hotel sector. His role is central to developing the company’s culture and leading the implementation of programmes and policies across the company. Previously he has held CHRO and Head of HR roles in the hospitality industry as well as managing his own HR consultancy practices. He is passionate about company culture, mental and physical health promotion and employee engagement and their impact of the workforce and the business environment.

Amelia Stratton | Head of HR (Wellbeing & Engagement) | Network Rail

Amelia began her career working in marketing for companies including Boots and Nottingham Trent University, before moving into communications for the NHS. She has progressed into to senior leadership roles in the rail sector, overseeing employee communications and engagement, and health and wellbeing strategy for East Midlands Railway. She has recently joined Network Rail’s North West and Central region as the Head of HR for Wellbeing and Engagement.

Rebecca Todd | SEO CONSULTANT & SPEAKER | Honey Pot Marketing

Rebecca is an independent SEO Consultant based in the UK. She has been working with brands all over the world since 2014, including Ryman, MyProtein, Wix, Glade, Sacla', and more. As well as being an advocate of women in tech, Rebecca is passionate about making SEO more accessible. So, her published articles and conference talks are all about encouraging web owners, marketers, and junior SEOs to grow their websites and their confidence quickly and easily. She is also fascinated by the psychology and semantics of search, which are the foundations of her work as an SEO consultant.

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