CHAIR OF JUDGES

JENNIFER CRAWLEY - HSBCUK DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Jennifer has over 27 years of banking experience with HSBC across both the commercial and retail sectors and is currently responsible for more than one million customers and over 1,000 employees.

Jennifer was responsible for working in partnership with the Institute for Fiscal Studies to launch the ‘Certificate in Business Banking and Conduct’ qualification.  The course focused on the culture of learning being at the heart of business, with its success being the inspiration for the ifs creating a further externally-recognised course, a Diploma in Business Banking. Jennifer is also a strong advocate for Young Enterprise and Forward Ladies, who are ambassadors for women in business.

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

DEBRA WHITE - HSBC CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DIRECTOR, UK BUSINESS BANKING 

Debra White has been a Retail and Commercial Banker with HSBC Group for the last thirty nine years, working within the North Region and now Nationally. In September 2016 Debra took on a new role as Customer Experience Director for Business Banking UK delivering and leading the Customer Experience Nationally.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

MATT TURNER - FOUNDER OF 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.

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.

HARRIET KELSALL - FOUNDER OF HARRIET KELSALL BESPOKE JEWELLERY  

Harriet is one of the most respected bespoke designers and business trailblazers working in the UK jewellery industry today having founder her company in 1998, it has grown to be one of the most respected UK jewellery companies with many national and international awards to its name. Harriet is also Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and of the City of London.

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.

DALE MURRAY - CO-FOUNDER OF OMEGA LOGIC

Dale Murray started at PwC as a teenager. She is the co-founder of Omega Logic, a British mobile pioneer launching pre-pay mobile top-ups for networks including Orange and Vodaphone. She eventually sold the company to Eposs and then First Data Corporation, staying on as CEO and building turnover to £450m in just six years. Dale now focuses on angel investing and advising start-up and early-stage businesses.

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.