Director of the Year Sponsored by Archant Dialogue
The award is a recognition that companies of all shapes and sizes, from both the private and public sectors, need leadership from its directors to drive performance and set a strategic vision for the future, while also demonstrating innovation in their products and services.
Judges in this category will particularly be looking for someone who has excelled in a manner which has really brought benefit to their industry, to the county of Norfolk, or to a significant sector of the community.
And they will not only be looking for a director who has been able to accomplish significant profit levels, but also for an individual who is seen as a positive symbol of creativity in the workplace and of genuine customer care, as well as maintaining a priority towards the growth of their staff.
Last year’s winner was David Horton-Fawkes, estate director at Holkham, a complex and diverse mix of privately-owned businesses centred on farming, property, and leisure employing more than 300 people. From 2000, the business, which had previously focussed on farming and property management implemented a rapid programme of diversification into multiple activities and his priorty was to consolidate this diversification period and optimise the performance of the businesses, which were viable, confront those which were not viable, and to establish a commitment to quality and then to build a platform for future growth from which to launch new ventures. His strategy established a clear structure, identified and empowered capable managers, and described a common vision and values to unite the company.
Gavin Miller, managing director of Archant Dialogue, said he was looking forward to the opportunity of engaging with business leaders across a range of sectors.
“We are absolutely delighted to be the sponsor of this category,” he said. “It is fantastic opportunity to identify our leading business talent.
“In our fast moving world, directors need to be able to draw on a vast portfolio of skill sets in order to set the strategy and operational direction for their businesses.
“This award has been one of the most keenly contested categories in the EDP Business Awards and it will be fascinating to see which businesses make it to our final three and the awards night on November 6.”
Strong leadership is a vital ingredient in business success and this award seeks to highlight the achievements of those at the forefront of their businesses and organisations.
The award aims to recognise the hard work, creativity and innovation of Norfolk’s business leaders, with the judges looking for someone who has not only excelled in the role but someone who has brought innovation to his or her industry, the county of Norfolk or to a significant sector of the community.
Judges will be looking for directors who have vision, clarity and the ability to keep their eye on the ball in a challenging economic climate.
The director will have not only accomplished significant profit levels, but will also be someone who is seen as a positive symbol of creativity in the workplace.
The judges were impressed with the way in which Ms Metland adopted a ‘leading from the front’ approach to her work and the development of her business, which manages for clients health-based websites in 14 countries serving 39 million people a month.
Ms Metland has run her business, Content Consultants, from Norwich but is willing and able to be at the cutting edge of the company’s day-to-day activities, even going to the sub-continent to take part in qualitative research.
The company is efficiently run, navigated through the financial crash and has emerged with a healthy cash reserve and no borrowings. Ms Metland is clearly an inspirational leader for her team but she is equally keen to empower her colleagues and look at succession planning in a holistic way.
Sophie Fulford demonstrated to the judges that in a fiercely competitive marketplace (high end jewellery and watches) it’s what you put into a business that counts.
Ms Fulford clearly demonstrated that even though she had not intended to join the family business she was prepared to start on the shop floor and work her way up.
As well as guiding the business through the recession she has expanded its presence in Norwich by opening the Pandora brand in Chapelfield, she has introduced the dedicated Bridal Gallery, instigated a jewellery loan scheme for brides to be and most importantly accelerated group turnover from £3.2m in 2004 to £9.8 million in 2013.
Her ‘vision’ for the business was evident from our conversation and from the work she has implemented.
She also manages to do the one thing that many women in business find very difficult: to juggle a successful career with looking after her small children.
Jonathan Green’s company is involved in what might be considered one of the most challenging areas in the charity sector: telephone canvassing.
ThirtyOne Fundraising, under his guidance, has adopted a refreshingly different approach to outbound calling to consumers. The business was started from scratch by Mr Green in 2012 with the aim of ‘delivering the best value fundraising possible and to become an employer of choice within Norfolk’.
Judges were impressed with the way in which Mr Green approaches the work the company does, the way he looks after and nurtures his team and the way in which the company’s turnover has almost doubled from £500,000 to almost £1m in year two.
Mr Green focuses heavily on in depth training for his employees and lives the mantra that the company is only as good as the people it employs.
"We are very clear that these awards are about broadcasting far and wide the message that our business community has plenty to offer and contribute to our economic success as a region and the wider economic good."Shaun LowthorpeEDP Business Editor