All our entries are independently judged by a carefully selected panel of industry experts and insiders.

Judges will score and pick the shortlists in each of the 20 categories from information provided and research done on the individual entries.

Lisa Baker

Editor, HR News |

Following a career of Entrepreneurship, Lisa Baker is the founder and Editor of HR News, and also works as Head of Marketing for Activ People HR. Lisa has a law degree and is a keen commentator on HR issues.

Declan Byrne

Managing Director, UK One4all |

Declan is a prepaid financial services veteran having spent the past 20 years working in the prepaid mobile, money transfer, GPR Card, Prepaid Budget and Gift Card spaces. After a number of years consulting in the payments industry he took up in his current role with the One4all Group.

He was responsible for the development of the One4all Rewards business in the UK focusing on the application of One4all Gift and Reward Card portfolio in driving workplace and consumer motivation. He is a board member of the Incentive Marketing Association –Europe (IMA Europe) the industry voice for the incentive and motivation industry in Europe.

Declan is now a regular commentator on the subject of workplace motivation and keenly sponsors original research into to the science of motivations which is shared regularly with the wider HR community.

Wendy Carter

Managing Director, Gifted To You |

Wendy Carter is Managing Director of Gifted To You, an online gifting website that supplies unique and bespoke gifts for employee reward programmes, sales incentives, or to just to say thanks.

Wendy is also the Executive Director of IMA Europe (Incentive Marketing Association) the trade association for incentive professionals across Europe.

With a publishing and marketing background she has written many articles on the subject of employee engagement and recognition

Claire Dallas

Managing Director, Dallas Legal and MIBA Health |

After graduating with a BSc Hon in Psychology, Claire commenced her career in the telecommunications industry and rapidly joined AT&T UK’s SDH network architecture team. During these projects, she performed technical project management of highly complex site migrations and network engineering projects.

She then headed ETT’s Service Management where she introduced reviews of premier clients (e.g. Ford / Bloomberg) to align technology provision to operations. Her commercial expertise developed rapidly as she headed the bid and commercial team for bespoke multi-million solutions at Viatel.

Then, as a leading transformational role as Senior Commercial Manager, BBC, reporting to the CTO, she introduced and successfully managed Commercial Management for the global BBC Technology Outsourcing Agreement (£230M+ spend p.a.).

After a nine-month sabbatical in Sierra Leone with Mercy Ships providing global marketing material following healthcare for one of the world’s worst poverty deprived populations she turned to commercial consultancy. Here, the opportunity arose to launch Dallas Legal (formerly Fortis Legal), a niche, legal & consultancy firm of Company, Commercial, Human Resource Management and Employment experts, offering high quality, practical advice, administration and consultative strategies for high growth and established companies.

Currently, as Commercial Director in Dallas Legal, her commercial acumen has been an integral part of providing premium quality Legal, HR and Business Management retainer services to proactively support rapid growth SMEs and offering business consultations to entrepreneurial companies in the region. In particular, for the healthcare sector she has designed practical policies and procedures that help minimise safety risks and meet compliance through high quality care. Recently, extending on her deep knowledge of compliance in the Healthcare sector, Claire is leading the operations for MIBA Health; a polyclinic providing a new type of patient care model across multiple healthcare services.

In parallel, her entrepreneurial business venture founding imports company Fortis Distribution, whereby she has delivered several products to Tesco Direct and during the past few years she has provided advice to businesses across the region as FSB Connect Regional Ambassador and during the International Festival for Business 2014/2016.

Aoife Davey

Group Marketing Manager, One4all |

Aoife Davey is Group Marketing Manager for One4all and has been instrumental in growing the GVS business from a start up with an idea in 2001, to having a marketable product in 2002, developing the One4all brand and becoming a market leader. Aoife is a member of the senior management team and plays an integral role in formulating overall business strategy. She has built and manages the marketing, web and design department for GVS and lead the creation and development of the One4all brand. The brand has received marketing praise nationally and internationally through Prepaid industry awards including ‘One to watch’ and ‘Prepaid with Soul’ in the 2014 European Paybefore Awards and ‘Best Prepaid Marketing Campaign’ at the UK Prepaid Awards 2014. 

Professor John Davies

Associate Dean Enterprise and Industry Engagement, Salford Business School |

After working in technical and management roles in both SMEs and multinationals in chemical processing and building service industries for 13 years, John joined the University of Salford in 1992.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), a Chartered Quality Professional (CQP), former Chief Examiner for the CQI, and Chair of the CQI's Northern Region.

John's current areas of research activity are the implementation of Quality Systems, Models and Techniques in a range of organisational contexts, Service Quality, Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Development, and Knowledge Transfer between HEIs and SMEs. He is a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Quality, TQM Journal, Quality Assurance in Education and the International Journal of Lean Six Sigma. He has published over 55 refereed papers and has a successful record of PhD completions under his supervision.

He has extensive experience in working with organisations through funded projects in business process development, quality and performance improvement, is a Judge for the Salford Business Awards and a Juror for the North of England Excellence Awards.

Jon Fairburn

Professor of Sustainable Development, Staffordshire University Business School |

I am active in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. I have had a particular interest in recent years in EU projects and have participated in three large funded projects (two on energy and one on innovation support measures) as well as a range of smaller ones.  I am also the faculty co-ordinator for the ERASMUS programme.

More recently I have been working on rural business and rural tourism issues, this includes sitting on the Economy Themed Action Group for the Staffordshire Rural Forum. 

Apart from teaching undergraduate and postgraduate teaching my main duties are consultancy for the university. Clients include the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Agency, Scottish Executive as well as a range of regional clients.

Kevin Feddy

Former Business Editor, Manchester Evening News |

Kevin Feddy is a vastly-experienced and respected journalist who worked on daily newspapers for more than 25 years.

He spent most of his newspaper career at leading regional title the Manchester Evening News, where he was business editor until 2013 before he established his own public relations, copy writing and media training agency.

In total, he worked for more than 12 years on the MEN’s business desk, building a fantastic network of contacts.

Rianna Fulam

Staff Writer, Executive Grapevine |

After graduating with an English degree from the University of Sheffield, Rianna joined Executive Grapevine as an intern in 2014, before moving to Japan to teach English for a year. 

On returning to Executive Grapevine in 2016 as a Reporter, Rianna now works across all three brands, delivering content relevant to HR, Recruitment and Business leaders.

Her role ranges from interviewing professionals for in-depth features about industry trends, reporting on national news and supporting the launch of Business Grapevine.


Mandy Garner

Editor, |

Mandy Garner is Editor of which promotes best practice in gender diversity and flexible working. She has worked for over 25 years as a journalist, working for the BBC, Times Higher Education, Community Care magazine and for the University of Cambridge. She also worked for six years as a researcher for the writers' organisation International PEN for their Writers in Prison Committee.

Philip Hargreaves

Head of Access to Finance, Business Growth Hub |

Philip has worked in commercial and corporate banking for the past 35 years. He is now responsible for the Hub’s Access to Finance Team, together with the North West Business Angels and the Grants Advisory Service.

Working closely with partners in the business and professional communities, Philip and his team are passionate about supporting local SMEs who are looking to grow.

“Fundraising in the current marketplace is often complex, requiring time and specialist understanding of all the available options. Putting the right finance in place, at the right time, can mean the difference between success and failure.”

Jock Jordan

Chairman, Incentive Marketing Association Ireland Chapter |

Jock Jordan is a fellow and Council member of the Sales Institute of Ireland, he is chairman of the IMA Ireland Chapter, Deputy president of the Dublin Fingal Chamber of Commerce, and holds a Postgraduate Diploma from DIT in Sales Management. Jock has responsibility for all Sales Channels across the GVS Group, and has built the GVS  highly skilled Sales Teams over the past 12  years. He has also been responsible for the strategic development of the various sales channels since the launch of the Gift Voucher Shop. Jock has held a number of  senior sales management roles in a number of  companies across different business sectors including FMCG, Entertainment and tourism, in posts such as Head of Sales & Marketing at Aer Lingus, Country Manager at both Walt Disney and Sony over a career of 25 years.

John Leech

Liberal Democrat Councillor and Business Relationship Director, Ashley Finance |

John Leech is a Liberal Democrat Councillor representing the Didsbury West ward, and is the sole opposition Councillor on Manchester City Council. Freelance political consultant.

Former MP for Manchester Withington 2005-2015 and Business Relationship Director, Ashley Finance

Chris Marsh

Director, UKFast |

Chris has worked in the tech industry in Manchester since 2000 and is now Director of Partner Development at UKFast and a member of the Manchester Digital Council.

His days consist of assisting to build the brand at UKFast and helping businesses which they are working with.

Chris also sits on steering committees to help industry sectors at Pro Manchester, he is an ambassador for Forever Manchester, a mentor with the Business Growth Hub, helps to run a Code Club to teach primary school children how to use IT skills and a school governor.

Laura Plunkett

Head of Small Business Solutions, Post Office |

Laura is passionate about small businesses and in her role at POL spends most days improving the propositions the Post Office network offers its small business customer population, as well as ensuring our postmasters (independent small businesses themselves) have access to the best products and services to make their businesses thrive.

Laura’s background is in marketing across retail, automotive, fashion and telecoms sectors. She is a customer service enthusiast and appreciates more than most that best-in-class customer service is essential to a brand and successful businesses.

Laura is a qualified coach and spends as much time as she can helping others to develop themselves, particularly small businesses and start-ups.