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.

Our Judges

Andy Green
Andy Green | Co-founder | Dublin Conversations
Andy Green FCIPR FRSA is cofounder of the Dublin Conversations, the Modern Cockney Festival, and wrote 21years ago, the very first book on ‘Creativity in Public Relations’. He is a consultant in identifying purpose, brand storytelling, creativity, and managing Fake Purpose to enable his clients to fulfil their greater potential and make the most of opportunities. He is also a part-time university lecturer. Andy has written six books, translated into eight languages and believing inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources, even runs creativity classes on the London Tube.
Charli Briggs
Charli Briggs | Founder & Director | Eventure
Charli Briggs is the Founder and Director of multi-award-winning staffing agency Eventure, brand-matching staff for UK and global events. Amongst her awards and recognition include being within the Top 50 Most Influential People in the UK Events Industry 2023 and CN Rising Star of the Year 2022. Her impact also extends as a judge for prestigious awards and she is a frequent industry speaker on topics such as stress and burnout. With a decade-long journey navigating mental health challenges, Charli embeds employee welfare in Eventure's culture, including being a four-day work week employer, offering comprehensive private healthcare and annual all-expenses paid trips. Charli is an ILM qualified coach and through her second business, she supports and guides leaders from overwhelm to in control of their growing businesses.
Erin Portsmouth
Erin is a Chartered public relations practitioner who worked for ten years in private sector marketing and communications consultancies, and for the past thirteen years has worked in the National Health Service. She is currently Associate Director of Strategy, Planning and Development for the Oldham team within NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, where she oversees a strategic portfolio that also includes communications, engagement, public affairs, equality and diversity, organisational development and governance. She has a Masters degree in public relations, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and served on the CIPR 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, and is a Non-Executive Director of Oldham Community Leisure.
Gary Cookson
Gary Cookson | Director | EPIC HR
Gary is a father of four and a husband of one, and runs a successful business in his spare time. He’s an expert in workplace performance, with extensive experience leading and directing HR, OD and L&D functions across all sectors. His clients like working with him as he is authentic, honest, knowledgeable, communicative and people focused, with a broad and deep range of skills and experience – and a glance at his prolific social media output will verify this. Gary is a leading expert in the design and delivery of online / virtual training programmes, as well as an inspiring and entertaining keynote speaker and trainer on a range of leadership and HR issues. He was been recognised in many industry lists and been the recipient of numerous industry awards. His book, HR for Hybrid Working, was published in June 2022 by Kogan Page. He’s sure to mention this more than once.
Janet Houlis
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. A Board member, Advisor and HR Professional with a breath of experience working Nationally & Internationally within Operations, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDI&B), Change & Transformation. 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 in 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, Coach and Mentor. A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (MCIPD), and a Women on Boards Member.
John Jones
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 Vice President of the Manchester Business Group of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. He was Chairman of Pro-Manchester from 2014 - 2015.
Kellie Noon
Kellie Noon | Founder | Kellie and Co
Kellie is the Founder of Kellie and Co, a training company created to help those working in the education sector to better integrate international students into the classroom to enhance outcomes, retention, and happiness. Her work encourages a holistic understanding of people, culture, communication and educational pathways. Kellie also works alongside the Manchester Growth Company on their Global Scale Up programme. This is fully-funded support for Manchester-based businesses who want to grow into new international markets, delivered in the form of 1-1 consultancy and group training. Kellie is also a Spanish-English translator, a qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, and regularly assesses new applicants for the organisation. She’s a board member of a UK SME alongside four other wonderful people. Outside work, you can find Kellie up a hill, rock climbing, visiting a new city, or snuggling up with a dog.
Dr Michelle Gledhill
Dr Michelle Gledhill | MRT Employability Lead/Senior Lecturer | MMU
Dr Michelle Gledhill is a specialist in in advertising, branding and media. My former position (2010 to 2022) as Programme Leader for MSc Creative Advertising Strategy combined my expertise in strategic thinking when working on live briefs with brands such as Manchester City, the Happy Linen Company and Rockstar Spirits, with my passion for developing and nurturing student talent in the Manchester and across the UK. This has led to a new role where I am the Marketing Retail and Tourism Employability Lead. She will be working with agencies and businesses to enhance the career prospects of MRT students. Her fascination for branding led her to complete a unique doctoral thesis on how brands are processed whilst playing videogames. She is a highly experienced marketer, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), CIM Senior Examiner and HE Examiner.

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We’re immensely proud and grateful for this recognition and the kind words from the judges. At the Awards ceremony, it was hugely inspiring to be amongst businesses and individuals who share our vision and commitment to fostering positive transformations in both corporate and workforce culture.
Tech City Teams
Our thanks to Don’t Panic Events for celebrating companies that care and nurture their workforces. SmartBear is proud to be amongst those recognised in the 2023 UK Company Culture Awards in the category of Best Working Environment (Location). After all, it’s all about people.
We’re honoured to have received this award which gives recognition to all of the fantastic development programmes our People team have put in place to help grow and develop each individual across our agency.
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