Top business talent named at IoD North West's 2020 Director of the Year Awards at the IoD's first ever online awards ceremony

On Wednesday 15th July, IoD North West hosted its first ever online Director of the Year Awards ceremony – celebrating the region’s best business leaders and their achievements in the past year.

13 awards were presented virtually on the night, with the prestigious Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice Award presented to Simone Roche MBE of Liverpool-based Northern Power Women. Simone, who was also recently appointed as Honorary Lieutenant Commander for Royal Navy and Royal Marines, was presented the award following her work in promoting gender equality.

Additional accolades were presented to Manchester-based Matt Haworth of Reason Digital who won the Social Value and Sustainability Impact Director of the Year award; Helen Tonks of Hydraulics Online Ltd, based in Alsager, was announced winner of the Family Business Director of the Year award, with Andrew Preston of Knutsford-based Geometric Results International Ltd (GRI) recognised as Large Business Director of the Year.

The 2020 Innovation Director of the Year award was awarded to Carolyn Willitts of Manchester-based CW Studio Ltd, followed by the International Director of the Year award presented to Paul Baker of St Pierre Groupe based in Didsbury.  Chukwudi Onwudiwe of the Chuck Gallery, based in Longsight, won the Start-Up Director of the Year award, whilst the Small-Medium Business (up to £50m) Director of the Year Award was presented to Ono Okeregha of Salford-based Immigration Advice Service.

The Third Sector Director of the Year award went to Gail Heath of The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid), while Susanne Lawson of Onefile Ltd scooped the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director of the Year award.

The coveted Young Director of the Year award winner was announced as Lee Cunliffe of Sporting House in Manchester, and Public Sector Director of the Year award was presented to Ian Hopkins QPM of Greater Manchester Police.

A special mention went out to those shortlisted for the Non-Executive Director of the Year award who each received a highly commended recognition, followed by the category’s overall winner James McMillan of Stockport Credit Union.

Congratulating the winners, Claire Ebrey, regional director for the IoD, said: “While this year’s awards ceremony was very different than those in the past, we were still able to fulfill our primary objective of celebrating the region’s best directors – especially at a time when they are facing huge commercial challenges.

“The awards embody the IoD’s philosophy of encouraging entrepreneurial activity and promoting responsible business practice for the benefit of the business community and society. Each and every winner tonight has demonstrated how to be a leader and how to inspire the people within their organisation and the region’s business community as a whole. I am hugely proud to know and work with these winners and wish them huge congratulations.”

The 2020 North West Director of the Year Awards were sponsored and partnered by headline partner: Kuits Solicitors and category sponsors: RSM, Rathbone Investment Management, Crowe, DIT and Salford Business School.

The full winners were:  

• Social Value and Sustainability Impact – Matt Haworth, Reason Digital

• Family Business sponsored by Crowe – Helen Tonks, Hydraulics Online Ltd

• Large Business – Andrew Preston, Geometric Results International Ltd (GRI)

• Innovation – Carolyn Willitts, CW Studio Ltd

• International sponsored by DIT – Paul Baker, St Pierre Groupe

• Start-Up – Chukwudi Onwudiwe, Chuck Gallery

• Non-Executive sponsored by RSM – James McMillan, Stockport Credit Union

• Small – Medium Business, sponsored by Salford Business School – Ono Okeregha, Immigration Advice Service

• Third Sector – Gail Heath, The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid)

• Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – Susanna Lawson, Onefile Ltd

• Young – sponsored by Rathbones Investment Management – Lee Cunliffe, Sporting House

• Public Sector – Ian Hopkins QPM, Greater Manchester Police

• Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice sponsored by Kuits Solicitors – Simone Roche MBE, Northern Power Women

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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